Eric Church Says “Talladega” Isn’t a NASCAR Song

Singer Reveals Bigger Story Behind the Song

“It has nothing to do with (NASCAR). That is nothing more than the avenue through which the commentary took place. It’s really about life.” That’s what Eric Church told Billboard about his new single, “Talladega.”

And he’s right. It’s not so much about the destination. It’s about the getting there. The journey you take with friends.

Church told the magazine about the day he wrote the song with Nashville songwriter Luke Laird when they were on the road a couple years ago.

They were sitting on the tour bus in upstate New York in 2012 and watching a race at Daytona International Speedway. That gave Church an idea.

“What you see on TV there has nothing to do really with racing,” he explained. “It’s about that experience, whatever that is — the experience with the person next to you and knowing that that’s probably a finite time in your life. It’s not gonna last forever.”

I think what Church is saying is that you have to go to know. I’ve never been to a race like that where I’ve actually camped out, but I’ve been to enough country music festivals to understand what he means.

Church grew up going to the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia — the paper-clip track, as it’s known — and said that he and his buddies would get tents and just camp out for a few days. Sometimes they were so far from the track, they actually lost their car at one point.

“I can’t tell you who won the race, but I could tell you all the experiences we had in a two or three-day period,” Church said of the trips that inspired lyrics like, “We were laughing and living, drinking and wishing and thinking as that checked flag was waving, sure would like to stay in Talladega.”

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