DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — "America's most patriotic rock band" performed America's most patriotic song at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.
And the reviews were mixed.
Madison Rising's rendition of the national anthem had a few drivers chuckling and some fans shaking their heads before the Nationwide Series season opener.
"Well, I wish they would just sing the damn song," driver Brad Keselowski said after the race, which Regan Smith won by a few feet. "That is my reaction."
The band's version of "The Star Spangled Banner," which has more than 5 million views on YouTube, was shortened for television purposes. Nonetheless, the guitar-heavy interpretation seemed to catch NASCAR off guard. Keselowski and Danica Patrick had puzzled looks on their faces near the end of it.
"Yes, we took some liberties," lead singer Dave Bray said before the performance. "But we were already taking some liberties with it musically and melodically. We wanted to make it a rock song people could sing and enjoy. The reverence is still there, but it has sort of taken on the death march in a way. It's very sullen and sung in a very sullen way. We thought it should be more of a celebratory rock anthem."