Robin Meade leads a busy life. The host of HLN's "Morning Express with Robin Meade" is also a best-selling author and country music singer, with her second album scheduled to come out June 12.
She's also become visible in the NASCAR world by singing the national anthem at multiple events -- including at Daytona in 2012 and Talladega for the Aaron's 499 this year -- and hosting drivers on her television show.
Meade will sing the national anthem before the 54th running of the Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. She's a natural fit for the Memorial Day weekend race, which launches the "NASCAR: An American Salute" initiative, given her background of supporting the military.
I know you're a NASCAR fan, you've been to a lot of different NASCAR races over the years, how excited were you to be at Talladega?
"It's an iconic race track and it stands out as unique from many of the others. I was glad I came (a day early) and just got a peek of the grandstands because I think I would have had a heart attack had I just drove up underneath the tunnel and just saw how many stands are right there. There's something about every track that is so different."
Does singing the anthem in front of a bunch of people make you nervous?
"I'd like to say that no, it doesn't make me nervous, but there's always adrenaline flowing when you're going to sing in front of so many people and, I don't know, 7 or 8 million on FOX. But it's an excitement that I really enjoy."
What situations do make you nervous?
"What does make me nervous? Jumping out of planes with former presidents (laughs). Every now and then, I don't get nervous, but I do put a lot of pressure on myself to make sure I sing it the way people want to hear it."
I think you also had a guest, a reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, Brad Keselowski, on your show recently.
"Yeah, Brad Keselowski was on the show, and I played Mario Kart with him while questioning him. That was the whole thing, because I didn't just want it to be talking heads on TV. I was impressed with Brad. When I saw him on the SPEED channel at the Sprint Cup awards, I thought 'Oh boy, gosh, this is a tough thing for a young driver to have to get up and deliver a speech as the reigning Sprint Cup title holder.' And I was really impressed with him."
What was he like on your show?
I wasn't just going to give him softies. I asked him about his 25-point penalty, the rear-housing. He held his own. He communicates really well. I was impressed with him. One of our viewers asked a question while playing Mario Kart, and I was trying to distract him ? but the viewer asked 'Who's your favorite driver, Kyle Busch or Carl Edwards?', and he laughed."
We also wanted to ask you about your "Salute the Troops" segment, how did that get going?
"Each hour (on the show), we do a salute to the troops where it's really the family members who come on. I love it because it's the family members of the people who serve. So many times I feel like the family members don't get the credit that they deserve, because they hold down the fort when that person is away preserving our freedom.
"That started about seven years ago. I happened to hold up a cup on the air that was from an army base. Well if you know anything about the military, you don't say one branch without saying the other two (laughs) ? we just realized that was a segment of our demographic, our viewership, really felt need to recognize their loved ones who are serving."
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