Do NASCAR Drivers Listen to Music? (Explained)

NASCAR drivers driving round a track

This seems like an obvious question, as many of us regular folk listen to music when we’re behind the wheel; driving and listening to some beats for many of us is the default mode. But whether NASCAR drivers drive and listen to music is another story, and I’ve got the answer for you.

NASCAR drivers do not listen to music while they’re driving in a race. Even though a race takes 3 hours, they are fully focused, listening to their crew through a radio in their helmet and the sounds of the car and other cars around them. When racing at 200 mph, music would be too distracting.

So there you have it, it’s a resounding no. But there’s a lot more to this question than meets the eye. In this post we’ll look at the exact reasons behind the muted audio and the consequences of turning up the music whilst driving a NASCAR, you’ll not want to miss out!

Do NASCAR Drivers Listen to Music During a Race?

Of all the interviews that I’ve read, every single NASCAR driver denies listening to music during a race and they all gave the same reason: music would be too distracting during a race to listen to. Drivers need to focus one hundred percent on the road in front of them and to what their pit crews are telling them. They are also in tune to their cars and have to listen to every rev change to monitor how their cars are doing. Music would distract them from that, even if it was low and in the background.

Most professional sports don’t allow their contestants to listen to music during the actual sporting event.

Music distracts the players and the refs, can lead to miscommunication between the players and the coach, and can drown out important information given to the athlete themselves: be it by their body or their car.

A runner can monitor the sound of their breathing, a dirt bike rider can listen for the revs of another biker going to pass, and NASCAR drivers listen to their cars. Most of their gear shifting is done by ear and they don’t look at the actual revs of their car unless something is wrong. Even a second looking away from the road can lead to disaster.

NASCAR drivers also rely on their pit crews for vital information, given to them over a radio frequency into their helmets. They are given their place by the spotters when to make a move, what needs to be done in the pit to the car.

All of this information is vital when it comes to racing and placing high. If they were distracted from this information, or music drowned out this information, then there would be low odds of the driver and the team claiming a win. 

NASCAR drivers rely on split-second decision making. At 200 mph, they cover approximately 293 feet every second. Let that sink in. That’s almost 100 yards (actually 97 to be exact), so the length of a football field, every single second. And there’s 40 cars on a racetrack that’s approximately thirty feet wide. Any distraction could spell disaster, including listening to music during a race. 

Do NASCAR Drivers Listen to Music While Practicing?

his question isn’t a resounding “no” like during a race. It depends on the driver and the team and what they are practicing that day.

Some drivers do listen to low background music when they are driving practice laps with just their team. In the garage, music is fair game. Drivers and the pit crews listen to music constantly when tuning their car or working on it together.

Some drivers use different types of music to get pumped up, like any athlete does. But when the green light is lit and the race starts, then all music is off and the driver is focused on the track and the win.

Do NASCAR Drivers Get Bored During a Race Without Music?

This is another resounding “no”. NASCAR drivers train to be able to focus for three hours without distractions. As the temperature in the car can reach upwards of 120 degrees Fahrenheit, they often do hot yoga to train their bodies to last in the heat for a long time. They have to train long hours, both their bodies and their minds, to even race in a NASCAR race. There’s no time to be bored.

This isn’t a leisurely drive between cities that many of us are used to. Their kids aren’t in the backseat yelling at each other. They aren’t stuck in traffic waiting for a jam to clear while they try not to bang their head against a steering wheel and curse their own existence. This isn’t even like a long-distance run that some of us do regularly. They don’t need to drown anything out, nor do they need the extra help to focus.

During a race, the entirety of the driver’s focus is on the race. They are exhausted at the end, being through an extremely aggressive three-hour workout. Their brains and bodies are tired. They might listen to music to get pumped up for the race or to relax afterwards, but during the race, every ounce of their attention and focus is on the track.

There’s no “getting bored” during a NASCAR race, especially for the driver. And yes, this is even though they are only turning left.

What are NASCAR Drivers Favorite Music to Listen to?

This depends on the driver and the crew. Many drivers have their playlists on Spotify for fans to listen to. If you’re a fan of a certain driver, look into it. Most likely they have answered this in an interview, or they have a Spotify playlist for you to peruse. Then you can judge them for their music taste and not just their driving.

There seems to be a lot of different tastes in NASCAR, and no it’s not all country. Country music talks about NASCAR more than any other genre, but that doesn’t mean that all NASCAR drivers and teams listen to country.

What do NASCAR Drivers Listen to If It’s Not Music?

NASCAR drivers are listening to the sounds their cars make. The revs tell them all they need to know about when to shift gears and if there’s any problems that need to be fixed in the pit.

They’re also listening to their pit chief for updates about steering, tire wear, or any other thing in the car that can be seen from the outside. Their spotters are calling out their own lap times, giving them their own position plus the positions of the other cars in the race. There’s plenty of other things to listen to during a race, music isn’t necessary.

You can listen to different NASCAR frequencies during a race and get an insight into the barrage of information the driver gets. It’s actually pretty crazy that they can listen to all of this and still drive a football field a second.

Processing the onslaught of information is a skill in itself. Drivers and teams do not listen to each other’s radio communications – there’s no time, and listening to what another team is doing doesn’t give any information that a spotter can’t see in real-time.

By the time a team member listened to the other team’s radio and relayed the information, the opportunity is long gone. That’s maybe ten football fields of distance that they have driven in this time.