Tom Hanks and his wife, Rita Wilson, revealed on March 11 that they had both tested positive for COVID-19 while in Australia. The couple remained quarantined but were later allowed to return home to Los Angeles after they had recovered. Days later, Wilson kicked off an "iRacing" event for NASCAR by singing the national anthem.
Prior to the digital green flag being waved, announcers Mike Joy and Jeff Gordon revealed on the FOX broadcast that Wilson would be performing. They provided the backstory about her and Hanks, as well as the fact that their youngest son, Truman, would be filming the performance. The camera then switched to the "Los Angeles location" and showed Wilson singing with only an accompanying guitar track.
"Thank you [Rita Wilson] that was beautiful!" one NASCAR fan wrote. Others immediately responded by proclaiming that this performance was just perfect and that they were blessed by her singing. Although one fan did weigh in to say that he preferred her "rapping ability." This referenced a video that she posted a video of her rapping Naughty by Nature's "Hip Hip Hooray."
"Hip Hop Hooray is the new national anthem," one fan wrote on Twitter in hopes that Wilson would put on a repeat performance. They were left slightly disappointed considering that she went with the "traditional" national anthem. However, those that watched the performance still felt that she had done a phenomenal job.
With the national anthem complete, the broadcast then switched to WWE star Mojo Rawley and former NFL tight end Rob Gronkowski. The pair had been scheduled to serve as the grand marshals of Sunday's race as part of a cross-promotion for WrestleMania 36.
These two athletes were far more "hyped" than Wilson and took the broadcast in a very different direction considering that they were discussing WrestleMania. They also shouted, "drivers, start your engines" while trying to fire up the drivers and the viewers alike.
Between Wilson's "lovely and simple" performance of the national anthem and the WWE stars hyping up the drivers, there were no doubts in the minds of viewers that this FOX broadcast would be entertaining. Now they just hoped that Clint Bowyer, Alex Bowman, and the other NASCAR drivers would put on an equally exciting performance.
Photo Credit: FOX