Home Local News Rockingham Speedway used as location for music video honoring Earnhardt, racing

Rockingham Speedway used as location for music video honoring Earnhardt, racing

Brandon Hartt stands in front of a Dale Earnhardt car during the video for "Good Years" shot at Rockingham Speedway.
Screenshot from YouTube

ROCKINGHAM — A country singer released a music video on Friday — shot on location at Rockingham Speedway — as a tribute to one of NASCAR’s most legendary drivers.

The video for the song “Good Years,” by Brandon Hartt, was released 21 years to the day after Dale Earnhardt died in a crash during the final lap of the Daytona 500.

Hartt said the song is not only an ode to “The Intimidator,” but also to the earlier days of racing.

The singer said his father, Cletus Deby Hinson, sponsored Earnhardt in 1969 and bought and helped build the driver’s first car, a Chevy Nova, which ran at Charlotte and Daytona.

“It was cool growing up hearing all the stories,” Hartt said, adding that he got to meet Earnhardt when he was younger.

“He was something really special,” Hartt said of the iconic driver.

Hartt said he was watching the fateful race with his father on Feb. 18, 2001.

“It broke his heart,” the singer recalled. “It’s the first time I saw my daddy cry.”

A native of Locust, in neighboring Stanly County, Hartt grew up going to races and makes a reference to that memory in the first line of the song:

“When I was just a boy, maybe 5 years old

I saw my first night race in the freezing cold

Wrapped up in moving blankets in the back of that Ford

I remember thinking, ‘Y’all, I won’t be doing this anymore’”

Hartt said that experience was at Charlotte Motor Speedway, though he also came to a few races at Rockingham, which is referenced in the second part of the verse. He said his parents always stayed in the first turn.

“It’s always amazing to see (a race) from the inside,” he said.

The second verse of the song references old driver tricks, including having extra tanks.

When planning the video, Hartt said he and the crew were “weighing out some options,” and figured CMS was “out of the question.”

Hartt said he then thought of the other close track and recalled, “There was something really special at Rockingham.”

Thinking the chances were slim, Hartt’s videographer did some research and attempted contact.

Justin Jones, vice president of operations at the speedway, said he had woken up on a Sunday and saw he had a message from a videographer who was working with a singer who wanted to shoot a video at the track.

Jones said he met with Hartt and the crew and discussed logistics and costs — but decided to let them use the location for free.

“I love the song,” Jones said. “It was fitting that the lyrics mentioned Rockingham and it was shot here.”

Jones has been teasing the video on social media since it was shot Feb. 10-11 and posted the YouTube link on Friday.

Brandon Hartt leans against a Dale Earnhardt car inside the Papa Joe Hendrick Garage at Rockingham Speedway during a music video shoot for his song “Good Years.” Photo courtesy of Justin Jones.

The video features clips of Hartt playing guitar in a pile of tires, looking reflective from atop Benny Parsons Tower, making adjustments on a car inside the Papa Joe Hendrick Garage, and “driving” the No. 3 car around the track.

The car used in the video was a former Earnhardt practice car that they had relabeled, Hartt said.

“It was nothing but chills and tears the whole time … to see it come out and be a part of something,” Hartt said about having the car at the shoot.

The car was actually hooked to a truck and towed for the driving shots, but while he was behind the wheel, Hartt said, “I swear I felt Dale’s presence in that car.”


Although he’s been around the tracks at Charlotte and North Wilkesboro, Hartt said, “Rockingham was a totally different experience.”

Despite a few hiccups, including having to reschedule, Hartt said the shoot “was nothing short of a miracle” the way everything came together. “There was something divine about the way it all lined up.”

Hartt said he has two or three other racing related songs and is currently penning one called “Racing on the Radio,” which is about the time before NASCAR became common on television.

Hartt will be performing “Good Years” and a few other songs in a short acoustic set at the Speedway’s open house on Saturday, March 5, Jones said.

The open house serves as the kick-off to the more than 30 events scheduled so far for 2022.

Former NASCAR driver Donnie Allison will be signing autographs and Allison Legacy Racing will have a race on the track’s infield road course.

Attendees will also get a sneak peek of Motorsport 4the Masses’ Classic American Racing Barnstormer Series, which will open at Rockingham Speedway April 23 and close out Oct. 1.

M4theM owner Rob Bolling said CARBS events will feature vintage stock cars and include practice laps, qualifying and an exhibition race for “a living history experience.”

For those who want to round the legendary oval, M4theM will be offering ride-alongs and leading hot laps for attendees to take their own vehicles on the track. The cost is $35 in advance and $50 the day of the event.

Jones said there will also be bounce houses, food trucks and track merchandise — including a limited supply of vintage items.

Parking and admission for the open house are both free.







Previous articleBLACK HISTORY MONTH: Norman native cooks up success with soul food restaurant
Next articleNo. 1 Lady Raiders fall in SAC tournament championship, await playoff seeding
Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.