The 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season will begin on Feb. 14 with the Daytona 500 from Daytona International Speedway. This event will be the first of 36 races and will mark the return of live music. Country superstar Luke Combs will perform a pre-race concert before the green flag waves.
"Hey race fans, I'm Luke Combs," the country star said in his announcement video. "If you love live music, be sure to catch my performance at the 2021 Daytona 500." His appearance marks the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic that Combs will perform a concert for his fans. Additionally, the pre-race performance will be NASCAR's first since Pitbull and Blake Shelton teamed up before the FanShield 500 on March 8.
"I can’t wait to feel that energy again. Man, I miss it," Combs told The Associated Press in an email. "It’s the first live show I’ve played since March of 2020, and I’d say it’s pretty dang huge." Combs previously performed virtually prior to the end of the NASCAR season in November.
A Charlotte native, Combs was raised in Asheville and grew up watching NASCAR events with his grandfather. He is a longtime supporter of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Now he will perform in front of the fans in the same place where the longtime driver waved the green flag to begin the 62nd running of the iconic race. "If you would’ve told me back then that I’d be performing at the Daytona 500 one day, I wouldn’t have believed you," Combs added.
Combs is the latest country superstar to perform ahead of the Daytona 500. Darius Rucker kicked off 2020's iteration, playing in front of a massive crowd of racing fans. He set the stage for a race that turned into a two-day event due to inclement weather, as well as President Donald Trump taking The Beast for a lap around Daytona International Speedway.
"The tradition of the Daytona 500 pre-race show has been an incredibly popular hit with race fans," track president Chip Wile said, per AP. "Luke has been one of the most influential country music stars over the last few years and his fan appeal is incredible. It’s a bonus, too, that he loves our sport."