Listening to music can make driving fun and can keep you energized. However, it can also be distracting. NASCAR drivers race for hours at a time at incredibly fast speeds. With this in mind, fans may wonder if NASCAR drivers are allowed to listen to music during their races.
NASCAR drivers do not listen to music during a race. Instead, they are in constant contact with their crew chief, spotter, and other important members of the team. Drivers cannot risk being distracted or miss hearing cues. However, some drivers may listen to music before a race to get energized.
As you can see, it is important that NASCAR drivers keep their radio clear of music to communicate with their team and stay focused. Below we discuss everything you need to know to further understand how music hinders a NASCAR driver’s focus capabilities and how they use their radios.
NASCAR drivers have radios to communicate with their crew chief, spotter, and other team members. Communication is key for a driver’s success during a race. Radio communication allows drivers to operate the car and perform their duties at peak performance.
The more NASCAR evolves technologically, the more communication drivers must be in with their race team. Often, you may think NASCAR drivers only communicate with their spotters and crew chiefs. However, drivers have over two-dozen team members behind the wall listening to their constant communication. This includes pit crew members, engineers, specialists, and the competition manager.
Communication must be quick and accurate since NASCAR is the ultimate game of seconds. At such high speeds, everything that happens on the track, happens incredibly fast. Within a fraction of a second, races can be won or lost if communication fails or misrepresents itself between the driver and their team.
Depending on the season, NASCAR outsources to a preferred company to provide radio equipment to drivers and crew members. They also let teams place customized orders. This allows NASCAR’s respective organizations to tailor the communication equipment to fit their unique needs.
Like for the driver, these radios mainly come in the form of earpieces or a headset, plus two-way radios. Only the driver will use an earpiece and attached microphone since it would not be feasible for them to use a handheld radio. One reason that drivers wear such small communication devices in modern times is because there is hardly any room in a driver’s cockpit for anything else.
What Do NASCAR Drivers Use Radios For?
NASCAR drivers use their radios to communicate how the car is performing and to remain in constant contact with their spotter, track staff, and crew chief. Throughout a race, communication allows for NASCAR cars to have multiple in-race adjustments and for drivers to be able to change strategy.
Drivers are in more contact with their spotter than anyone else on the team. Throughout the race, the spotter must provide adequate updates to the driver regarding where other cars are positioned on the track. This communication is of utmost important in the interest of driver safety.
Communicating with a spotter allows the driver to know exactly who and where opposing drivers are nearby. This can help drivers decide whether to form a temporary alliance or create a block. NASCAR spotters can also let drivers know if any on-track incidents are brewing or occurring in front of them.
Drivers also communicate with their crew chiefs to provide communication on car performance. However, some crew chiefs embrace the familiarity between drivers and their spotters. Therefore, crew chiefs may relay their responses to the spotters, who will then relay to the drivers.
Often, the car owner will listen in on the radio communication. With the car engineers or specialists listening in they can gather feedback on how the car is running throughout the course of the race. Drivers also use their radios to relay information to their pit stalls. Effective communication between the driver and their crew chief will make for the most efficient pit stop possible.
NASCAR drivers cannot listen to music during a race as it is prohibited for safety reasons. Music is considered an unnecessary distraction while drivers simultaneously try to receive and relay accurate information to their crew members. Their focus must be as precise and undivided as possible.
The hum of the engines and the occasional cheering of the crowd provide the only music to a driver’s ears as they need to pay constant attention to what their spotter is telling them. NASCAR drivers must constantly respond to the information that their spotters relay.
Since things can change within a fraction of a second at any point during a race, drivers cannot have any distractions other than the spotter’s voice in their ear to successfully guide them through any on-track incidents.
NASCAR is naturally a dangerous sport because of the high speeds it requires. It is one sport that has seen numerous fatalities throughout its existence. Although cars are safer in the 21st century than any other time, they still play to a Code of Honor that values safety.
Therefore, NASCAR drivers will refrain not just from listening to music, but from any activity that threatens the safety of the other 35 to 39 drivers racing alongside them. They choose to honor an unwritten code that aims to protect all participants.
NASCAR drivers are professional athletes. Like all pro athletes, they need to focus solely on the task at hand. How many times have you seen pro athletes’ attention thrown off because of unnecessary distractions like fan heckling? Every year, especially in hostile atmospheres, athletes will get ejected from contests because of fan confrontation.
While drivers don’t need to worry about fan distractions during a race, something like music provides an unnecessary distraction, which many drivers have stated leads to a “disconnection” with their car and the task at hand.
NASCAR races take between three and five hours to complete. Although distractions like on-track incidents will spring up, drivers must also seek to minimize distractions that they have the power to minimize. They won’t be able to control what does and does not occur on a track. They can control external distractions they bring upon themselves, music being one of those distractions.
NASCAR drivers sometimes listen to music before a race to get energized. There are no rules in NASCAR against listening to music prior to the race. They are allowed to engage in any activity they believe best mentally prepares them for the upcoming task.
On race day, NASCAR drivers perform a variety of tasks before they enter their car for 300 to 500 miles. Their pre-race itinerary can involve interacting with fans and the media, sponsorship appearances, interviews, and driver introductions. They usually have little to no time for breaks, migrating from one hot spot to the next on their itinerary.
Occasionally, drivers may catch a quick break in between their planned activities and will engage in their chosen pre-race activities. Some, within the hour before driver introductions, may listen to music. Others may find a quiet space and keep to themselves, while many drivers choose to spend their downtime with family. Every NASCAR driver prepares for races in different ways.
NASCAR drivers do not listen to music during a race. However, some may listen before a race to get energized. Listening to music while racing poses a safety risk as it hinders a driver’s focus and performance. Drivers must be able to constantly communicate with their spotter and crew chief.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.