Last December, multiplatinum recording artist Kid Rock performed at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series awards ceremony in Las Vegas where his buddy, Tony Stewart, was being honored as the 2012 series champion.
Several people from ESPN’s NASCAR coverage team who had attended the ceremony met Rock after the banquet and some informal conversations began about him doing something with ESPN.
Analyst Dale Jarrett, a former Sprint Cup champion, and Rich Feinberg, ESPN vice president, motorsports, production, didn’t settle anything with Rock that night, but Jarrett and Rock exchanged some texts and the process later continued with Rock’s management until a deal was made.
Beginning with Sunday’s opening race of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup, which airs on ESPN at 1 p.m. ET from Chicagoland Speedway, Rock will lend his presence and music to ESPN’s NASCAR coverage.
The Michigan native will narrate and appear in the opening teases of the telecasts of the 10 Chase races, with each tease tailored to the racetrack hosting that week’s event. Rock’s music will be featured throughout the campaign, including sneak peeks at his yet-to-be-titled new album and hits from his catalog.
An ESPN team was with Rock at Michigan International Speedway on Sept. 7 to shoot the first four teases, and the remaining six will be shot later.
The tease for the Chicago race has Rock standing in front of a giant American flag, similar to the famous opening scene from the 1970s movie Patton.
“Each tease that we’re working on has a theme behind it,” said Kate Jackson, ESPN coordinating producer.
“The theme for the first one is ‘The Chase is as American as … ‘ fill in the blank. Things that uniquely American: baseball, apple pie, hot rods, lemonade stands. That was the premise.”
Rock enjoyed himself at the shoot, riding his motorcycle around the 2-mile track between takes and shooting lots of pictures, but when the camera rolled, he was ready, Jackson said.
“He was great. He’s an absolute professional,” she said. “Very friendly, great delivery on camera. Really a good guy and I think he was just really excited to be part of this and he had a lot of fun.”
(A video preview lives here at YouTube. NOTE: There were some player issues as of Friday morning.)