Country singer Julie Roberts is such a big NASCAR fan that she wrote a song about the sport and debuted her video "NASCAR Party" at the All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday.
"The first time I went to a NASCAR track was a few years ago in Atlanta when I sang the national anthem, and I was hooked instantly on the sport," said Roberts, known for hits "Break Down Here" and "Men and Mascara." "I had watched it on TV growing up in South Carolina but it's a totally different experience when you're right there. Everyone was down to earth, and it was so exciting."
So Roberts, working with NASCAR, produced a video -- shot at the Texas Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Motor Speedway -- and televised it on the 200-foot wide by 80-feet tall screen at the race. She then performed a concert along the speedway's frontstretch following the race.
'I wanted the song to be uptempo for my fans out there," said Roberts about the song on her recently released third CD called "Alive", which is available in stores now and on iTunes June 7. "And when people see the video and see how much fun NASCAR is, they will try to get out there themselves."
For Roberts, it's been a long road back.
Born in Lancaster, S.C., she performed at festivals and nursing homes as a teen before heading to college at Belmont University in Nashville to study business administration. She worked for Mercury Nashville Records and eventually recorded a demo tape. She released two CDs to moderate success with several songs hitting the hot country charts.
But, while working on those albums, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Her confidence for performing was shaken and she has slowly worked her way back to the stage. Then, on top of that, in May 2010, her Nashville home was destroyed by rampant flood waters.
But today is a different story. And Roberts is set for a comeback.
"My favorite song on this new CD is called 'Stronger', because I believe everything happens for a reason," Roberts said. "After all I've gone through, I'm so much stronger today. And after I performed Saturday, I saw these people line up to get my autograph and buy my CDs, and I knew I was going to be OK."