Before the Great American Race began, Trace Adkins kicked things off with a stirring rendition of the National Anthem at The Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida on Sunday afternoon (Feb. 20).
The country icon and star of the upcoming FOX country music drama series, MONARCH, took to the raceway at the Daytona 500 to sing his version of “The Star Spangled Banner,” marking the first time that he’s ever sang at the most prestigious race in NASCAR. The Daytona 500 also serves as NASCAR’s season opening event.
The “You’re Gonna Miss This” singer, who removed his hat and held it in his hand against his chest, sang the National Anthem in front of the sold-out crowd of loyal NASCAR fans as well as the event’s drivers and their families, who all held their right hand over their hearts.
“I can’t believe it’s taken me this long to get to Daytona,” Adkins shared. (per The Daytona Beach News Journal) “I’m glad to be here. I’m stoked about it. One thing that still makes me nervous. If I screw up the National Anthem you’re on YouTube the rest of your life.”
Adkins’ performance of the National Anthem culminated with a flyover from the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, who soared across the clear blue skies in Florida above the popular NASCAR speedway.
The flyover marked the 12th consecutive year, and 13th overall, that “America’s Ambassadors in Blue,” officially known as the U.S. Air Force Air Demonstration Squadron, showcased their world-class talent and precise choreography as they flew in their signature “Delta” formation over the Speedway.
His televised performance also featured clips of several United States service members watching and saluting from overseas.
Watch Adkins’ performance of the song below.
Prior to his performance of The National Anthem, Adkins shared a photo meeting a disabled Veteran in attendance, which he captioned, “Saying hello to a Veteran at the #Daytona500. 🇺🇸”
In the photo, the country hitmaker is seen, wearing a blue Canadian tuxedo, signing an autograph for a Veteran in a wheelchair at the Speedway.
The Daytona 500 aired on Sunday, February 20 at 2:30 PM EST.