NOTEBOOK: Why no Avetts on the big stage?
CONCORD – Why the Avett Brothers, who are from Concord, haven’t performed before a Charlotte Motor Speedway race is a mystery, but they were at the track and stopped by the press box during the Coca-Cola 600.
Bobby Labonte became a fan of the Avetts through his son Tyler, and one of the items of the band’s visit – Scott and Seth Avett are two of the four members – was a visit with the Labontes.
A Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle, Michael Oher, was introduced in the pre-race ceremonies. The governor of West Virginia, naturally named Earl Ray Tomblin, was grand marshal. Who else could be honorary commander but Rear Admiral Frank Thorp? The Republican candidate for governor, ex-Charlotte mayor Pat McCrory, was honorary starter.
The Avetts, whose live concert from Red Rocks near Denver was shown live on the gigantic video board was shown in the summer of 2011, were merely prominent attendees.
Va-va-voom – Brooklyn Decker, the SI swimsuit model and onetime Charlotte resident, was the “honorary race director,” which seemed a terrible misuse of her considerable talents. Army Col. Gregory D. Gadson, who appears with Decker in the movie “Battleship,” gave the command to start engines, which seemed natural for a colonel.
Doesn’t he sing anymore? Tim McGraw introduced the field in his role as, uh, an ambassador for Pennzoil. Darius Rucker sang the national anthem and also performed in front of the main grandstand along with his band, the Carolina Grey Boys.
Country for the city -- Rucker, by the way, proved that a major entertainer can sing the same music as always, with a country band behind him, and thus be considered country. He, in fact, performed the Hootie & the Blowfish anthem “Only Want to Be with You” with dobro, fiddle and piano for backup.
This he doesn’t do – Burt Myers, the Whelen Southern Modified star known for his exploits at Bowman Gray Stadium in Winston-Salem, is now a spokesman for the North Carolina Highway Patrol in its “no texting, just driving” educational program.
Myers, who earned something of a cult following from the History TV program “Madhouse,” has certainly never “texted” while competing at the famed quarter-mile track.
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton