Adam Sanders pays homage to NASCAR in his just-released new song, “Daddy, Jesus & Earnhardt.”
Co-written outside of the Atlanta Motor Speedway by Sanders, Cole Swindell, Taylor Phillips and Brock Berryhill, “Daddy, Jesus & Earnhardt” finds Sanders paying tribute to NASCAR and late NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt.
Listen to the track below.
“Music, the outdoors and NASCAR,” Sanders said. “They have been the three constants in my life.”
The Florida native recalled that day in 2001 during the Daytona 500, when the world lost one of the greatest NASCAR drivers in history and one of his heroes, Mr. Dale Earnhardt.
“I will never, ever forget that day,” Sanders told PEOPLE. “I was watching the race with my dad, and even though I was really young, I knew that something significant had happened. My dad wasn’t a big Earnhardt fan, but I just remember the look on his face. That night, he gave me a hug and simply said ‘I’m sorry about your driver.'”
Sanders has owned every piece of Earnhardt memorabilia there was, from t-shirts and race suits to magazines and die-cast cars with his signature #3.
“I felt like I knew him,” Sanders said of Earnhardt. “I felt like he was a family member to me, like I had lost an uncle or someone that close to me. Losing him had a major impact for me.”
The song was written in the spring of 2019, while Sanders and Swindell were on a road trip to the NASCAR race in Atlanta.
“On our way, we started talking about our childhoods and our upbringing and what NASCAR meant to us,” Sanders recalled to the outlet. “We started talking about how, for a long time after Dale died, people will hold up three fingers in the air to symbolize his car number. And then we started thinking how cool it would be for everyone in an arena to do that during one of our songs.”
“I remember getting home from that trip and just diving into the 50 or so voice notes I had recorded on my phone that night,” Sanders added. “Listening to those recordings reminded me of when we first started writing. We were just so fired up about every line. Some of that stuff goes away the longer you are in this business. You get immune to that feeling. But not with this song. We felt this song in our soul.”
“Daddy, Jesus & Earnhardt” is set to appear on Sanders’ upcoming debut, full-length album, What If I’m Right, due out on May 21.