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It’s one of the most exciting events in the world of sports — NASCAR! The roar of the engines, the smell of fuel, rubber and exhaust, and the constant blur of cars whizzing past at unheard of speeds contribute to the adrenaline after the green flag drops to start the race.

Among all the races that make up the lengthy NASCAR season, the Daytona 500 is the premier event. The first race in the Sprint Cup (formerly Nextel) series of races, there is a hefty purse for the first to cross the finish line on the storied track. U.S. television viewership of the Daytona 500 is the highest of any other racing event, including the Indy 500.

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It is a great honor to be invited to sing the national anthem at the prestigious event, and at the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500 in 2008, that recognition went to one of country music’s greatest songbirds, three-time Grammy winner Trisha Yearwood. Prior to the deafening roar of dozens of super-charged engines, Trisha’s voice rang out as clear as a bell for the drivers and crews standing in pit row and for the fans packed into the stands of the Daytona International Speedway.

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And when the checkered flag dropped, it was young Ryan Newman who took the victory, but we’d bet Trisha won a few more fans, too.

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