The NASCAR Cup Series season continues on Wednesday night with the second event at Darlington Raceway in four days. This race, the Toyota 500, will take place under the lights and will feature a grammy-nominated singer-songwriter. Jewel will be performing the national anthem ahead of the green flag waving.
NASCAR announced the news on Monday afternoon with a video on Twitter. Jewel spoke about how she is excited about the return of stock car racing and that she is ready to lend her singing talents to the opening ceremony. Although she will not be at the track for this performance, she will be singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
"Hey there, NASCAR fans, it's Jewel," the singer said in Monday's video, "and I bet you're as excited as I am that NASCAR is back. And it is my honor to sing the national anthem before Wednesday night's race at Darlington. To tune in, just go to FS1 at 7:30 p.m. Eastern. Until then, stay safe."
Darius Rucker performed the national anthem before Sunday's The Real Heroes 400 at Darlington. He also sang from a safe location due to health and safety protocols. NASCAR is striving to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and only allowed essential personnel at Darlington Raceway. Rucker performed the race-opening song virtually and set the stage for a 400.2-mile race.
Wednesday night's event at The Lady in Black will be the second test of NASCAR's ability to hold a race without any health concerns. The Real Heroes 400 was the first and drew attention due to the number of drivers wearing masks before and following the race. The lack of fans was jarring for some viewers and the drivers, but most viewed the event as a success overall.
With the first event out of the way, NASCAR will continue to forge ahead with the Cup Series season and strive to prevent any issues. Wednesday's race is next on the schedule and will be followed by the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The goal is to hold the entire season leading up to the playoffs, but that will depend on the local and federal regulations, as well as any positive tests that may arrive. For now, NASCAR is preparing for Wednesday's race and Jewel's performance of the national anthem.