Blake Shelton, Danielle Bradbery Still in Touch

If it wasn’t for her singing in church festivals in Texas, Danielle Bradbery might not have tried out for The Voice. And had she not auditioned, she wouldn’t have won. And had she not won, she probably wouldn’t have been a 17-year-old belting out the national anthem at the NASCAR Geico 400 Chase for the Sprint Cup.

But there she was Sunday (Sept. 15), living the dream that has become a reality since she won the last season of the reality show. And even after the first of a couple of rain delays of the day threw the anthem schedule off, Bradbery wowed the crowd with her perfect pitch and girl-next-door charm.

But before she took the stage at the Chicagoland Speedway, I had a chance to ask her about what’s been happening since her big win.

Blake and I try to keep in touch as much as possible,” she told me. “And the last few weekends, he actually brought me out to his concerts and I surprised his crowd with ’The Heart of Dixie.’ So that was amazing. He’s amazing. He’s doing everything he can to help.”

Bradbery has been in Nashville recording her debut album which is expected to be released in early November.

“I picked songs from the amazing songwriters in Nashville, but I try to make each one sound as if they were my own,” she said. “There are some exciting ones and some powerful ones that I really love.”

So had she not gone for it on The Voice, what would Bradbery have been doing on a Sunday afternoon in Texas?

“Homework,” she said. “And hanging out my friends. And probably trying to get a job or something. Just normal stuff.”

Instead, she was signing the anthem (which she said she’d practiced by just singing it over and over in her head) and meeting Shelton and Lambert’s friend and NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, who ultimately finished 20th later Sunday night.

“I just met her today, and she said she was a big fan of mine and she’d watched The Voice,” Bradbery said. “I’m a big fan of hers, too.”

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.