TALLADEGA, Ala. (WBRC) - Despite COVID-19, one pre-race tradition at Talladega Superspeedway will continue this weekend for the Geico 500. For the 12th time, the 313th United States Army Band will perform the National Anthem and God Bless America prior to Sunday’s race, but this time their performance will be virtual.
“We’re used to doing it live and we don’t get to see ourselves perform until after the fact, so this is a new experience for all of us,” said William Green, Commander of the 313th United States Army band.
Due to COVID-19, only five of the 37 band members were able to perform the National Anthem and God Bless America for Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday, which will air before the start of Sunday’s race.
“It’s a little bit different because when we are there live on the spot, there’s a lot of adrenaline that happens from the crowd in front of millions of people, so to channel that here virtually is definitely a challenge,” said Staff Sergeant Joel Connelly.
Regardless if their performance is live or virtual, the 313th Army Band is glad to be part of the Dega tradition that started in 2014.
“When I think back at all the events that we play, this one is always the most important in my mind because of the amount of people we play for and impact it makes,” added Connelly.
The Geico 500 will get underway this Sunday at 2 p.m. only on WBRC FOX6 News.