Music and sports go hand in glove. What would Rocky III have been without “Eye of The Tiger?” Now that NASCAR has had its awards banquet and the 2016 Grammy nominations have been announced, it seems only fitting that now, All Left Turns gets in on the fun for its annual “Music As NASCAR Awards” for 2015. Heck, we’ll even throw in links so you can hear the songs. I think you’ll agree we’ve mined a couple of lesser known nuggets for our esteemed drivers.
Let’s get this party started…..
Twisted Sister “We’re Not Gonna Take It” Award- Matt Kenseth. The ordinarily restrained 2003 champion gained major “street cred” when he rammed Joey Logano at Martinsville, just two weeks after Logano spun him out at Kansas. Kenseth felt he had to do it to maintain respect; no question he gained a new level of popularity after exacting revenge on Logano.
The Who “Eminence Front” Award- NASCAR. This tune hits on a number of themes; among them, keeping up the facade that all is well, when all is not well. I think you all know what I am getting at here with respect to the governing body. Some may feel that some of the deeper meanings of this song apply to NASCAR as well. We won’t go there here.
X Ambassadors “Renegades” Award- Penske teammates Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski. There’s no disrespecting the ability of this young pair, but the recent on-track skirmishes featuring these two young teammates have put them on the fast track to top NASCAR’s “Black Hat” list. Love them or hate them, you know they are there.
Johnny Cash “Bad News” Award- Tony Stewart. This isn’t so much a description of Smoke as it is a description of his 2015 season. Anyone who knows Tony Stewart knows he’s a badass, and so was the original “Man In Black.” I’ll bet not many of you know this song written by JD Loudermilk, but its one of my personal favorites.
Sawyer Brown “The Race Is On” (otherwise known as the “second place stinks”) Award- Kevin Harvick. Never has consistency felt so unsatisfying. The 2014 Sprint Cup champion finished second in a points race 13(!) times. Fittingly, he finished second in the all-star race. Besides a trio of wins, Harvick finished with a series high first with 23 top fives, and tied Joey Logano with 28 top tens. For all his trouble, he finished…..second. Harvick knows painfully well what the late, great Dale Earnhardt meant when he said “second place is just like the first place loser.”
Fort Minor “Remember The Name” Award- Martin Truex Jr. This award is all about a driver powering through personal adversity and competing at a high level as a NASCAR anomaly- a single car team headquartered somewhere other than NASCAR central in North Carolina. 2015 was his and Furniture Row Racing’s best season to date.
The Collective Soul “Better Now” Award- Kurt Busch. This man has seen the edge, facing a serious accusation of domestic violence in a career that has already been dotted with controversy. He’s bounced back and back on his feet. I can’t help but feel the trials and tests have made him a better man.
The Frankie Ballard “Helluva Life” Award- Jeff Gordon. A great career, great memories, and he walks away with a lifetime of accomplishment. It’s been a helluva ride for the four-time champion, going out on his own terms.
The Eric Church “Talladega” Award- Dale Earnhardt Jr.- As goofy as the 2015 season was, Dale Earnhardt Jr. victories at Daytona and Talladega gave at least some small sense of order to the recently concluded campaign.
The AC/DC “Back In Black” Award- Kyle Busch. A comeback driver of the year and a champion in the same season; such was the life Kyle Busch. Thinking about the lyrics, the song is a perfect fit.