Andy Grammer came out of Turn 2 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Tuesday afternoon and punched the gas on the pace car.
“Here we go,” the 32-year-old pop star said under his breath. Then: “Well, we’re pushing alright; it’s getting somewhere. About 100 right now? Yo, what up! Don’t die...”
Grammer was clearly enjoying himself. And although he said he’s “not a huge NASCAR fan,” the sport may be growing on him.
In December, the “Honey, I’m Good” singer performed during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Awards Show in Las Vegas. On Tuesday, he spent some time kicking around Charlotte’s track before heading over to Campbell University in Lillington (between Raleigh and Fayetteville) to do a nighttime concert.
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Then next month, Grammer will return to Charlotte for his biggest dose of NASCAR yet: He’ll perform a pre-race concert for fans attending the Sprint All-Star Race on May 21.
“As soon as we got the call, we’re like, ‘Heck yeah, that sounds incredible,’ and my band has a couple guys that are really into cars and NASCAR ... so we’re pumped to be here,” he said while hanging out in the speedway’s media center before his driving experience.
Grammer’s May 21 performance is scheduled to run 70 minutes and will take place between Turns 1 and 2 of the infield. The concert is free for anyone who’s paid for admission to the race, but fans also can pay $20 for an upgrade that will put them in a reserved area in front of the stage. (Those tickets are limited and can be purchased by calling 1-800-455-3267 or at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com.)
This will be the second time he’s warmed up the crowd at a major sporting event in 2016; he also performed the national anthem before kickoff at the AFC Championship game in Denver in January.
And his big year will continue this August, when Grammer will hit the road with Train for a dozen shows, including two in South Carolina.
Not bad for a guy who got his start busking on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, and whose songs haven’t even been on the radio for five years.
“Without a little bit of success you can’t actually do the thing that you really, really want to do, which is play these shows with big crowds, and unite everybody, and have everybody sing the words together, and freak out ... like, make a community really feel something together,” Grammer said. “So to have some success and have a couple songs that go big on the radio – and then to be able to have shows like that – it’s just a dream, man. It’s really incredible.”
To him, his rise to popularity qualifies as a heckuva fun ride. Whereas...
“The idea of doing what we just did with 40 other cars – to be going twice as fast, with so many people all together – sounds a little insane.”