Martina McBride discusses Indy 500 anthem

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
2:27
PM ET
Martina McBrideMike Ehrmann/Getty ImagesMartina McBride performs her tried and tested rendition of the national anthem at Daytona last year.
Martina McBride knows her way around the national anthem.

She's a go-to performer before big sporting events, including the 2009 AFC Championship Game, and last year's Daytona 500. She said her dream is to eventually sing it at the Super Bowl.

All eyes will be on her again Sunday before the Indianapolis 500, where organizers said they wanted someone who would sing a traditional version.

McBride said that's her calling card.

"For me it's about honoring our country and our servicemen and women. It's not really about making it my own," she said. "It's not my song. It belongs to all of us. I try to sing it in a way that honors that, and that people can sing along with."

Another of her secrets: She keeps the words visible when she's singing, telling CMT "It's just too big of a thing to take a chance."

McBride, who released her 11th album, "Eleven," late last year, has long been a friend of NASCAR, even earning a legendary story on the circuit. After she sang the national anthem before Talladega in 2000, Dale Earnhardt Sr. asked for her autograph, and said he kept it in his car as he won the race.

"That is true," she said. "He said it was his good-luck charm. That was really sweet."

She has even been given a ride around the track, not that she's that excited about doing it again. Ever.

"It's terrifying. I don't know how they do it," she said. "It's amazing to me that they can do that. It's not something I would want to do every day. It's exhilarating. But it's just very terrifying at the same time."
Dave Wilson is a college football editor for ESPN.com. He joined ESPN.com in 2010 and previously worked at The Dallas Morning News, San Diego Union-Tribune and Las Vegas Sun.

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