On Sunday, the NASCAR Cup Series held its 37th annual All-Star event at the Fort Worth, Texas track. As the race got underway, FOX introduced each driver with on-screen graphics while Hagar and fellow guitarist Vic Johnson played. Hagar and Johnson are two of the four members of the singer’s band Sammy Hagar & The Circle. The pair are joined by Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Jason Bonham, who is the son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham.
Of course, Hagar is known for his solo career and for replacing David Lee Roth as the singer of Van Halen in the mid-’80s. His tumultuous relationship with the band and iconic guitarist Eddie Van Halen is well documented. However, Hagar wasn’t playing one of Van Halen’s songs at the All-Star race. Instead, he played his 1984 solo hit “I Can’t Drive 55,” which has become somewhat of a theme song for automotive racing.
The single has been used by numerous racing-related events, commercials, and other promotions. In 2011, ESPN even used it as the opening theme for their NASCAR coverage. Therefore race fans have likely heard the song before. However, not everyone was on the same page about Hagar and Johnson’s performance yesterday.
From FOX: NASCAR’s clip of their one-song show, the fans in attendance seemed to enjoy the performance. Numerous fans in the speedway seemed to rock along with the song at the start of the race. In addition, many other fans are seen taking photos and recording the mini-concert on their phones. Yet you can’t always please everyone, which was evident in the comments section.
Sammy Hagar’s NASCAR All-Star Performance Draws Mixed Reviews From Race Fans
As with almost anything these days, Sammy Hagar’s NASCAR All-Star Race performance divided those at home watching. While plenty of fans complimented the band, many others also wondered why NASCAR chose Hagar to begin with. Maybe those fans didn’t know about the “I Can’t Drive 55” connection to racing. In fact, it may just be an age thing in general like one fan pointed out.
“Coulda picked someone that is known to people under 50,” NASCAR fan Ryan tweeted.
Others were even harsher with their criticisms of Hagar and Johnson’s performance.
“This was dumb, embarrassing and went on waaaaaay too long,” another Twitter user wrote.
“That was so cringy,” one fan tweeted.
On the other hand, there were plenty more who loved every minute of Sammy Hagar’s mini-concert as the drivers prepared to race.
“That was certainly a more exciting way to build energy to the green than the usual pace laps,” Twitter user Derek wrote.
Additionally, many fans couldn’t believe how good Hagar sounded for his age.
“Sammy’s the best. Dude’s 70+ yrs old and still got the pipes!” another fan tweeted.
“How in THE fk does a 73 yr old man sing like that? #WTF,” someone wrote in agreement.
Finally, one fan pointed out that people should be inspired by Hagar. Regardless of your age and if you’re familiar with his music or not. The fan named James thinks anyone should appreciate the rocker’s talent, especially since he’s still going strong at 73 years young.
“Sammy still rocks. So many years of dedication. He should be an inspiration to all those Under and Over 50,” James tweeted.