With patriotic pride and talent to match, Emma Joanis stood out from the field of Speedway Star contestants to earn the right to sing the national anthem in front of thousands of race fans this summer. Sixteen talented singers from throughout New England competed live during the 3rd Annual Speedway Star singing competition at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The sweet-sixteen sang “The Star Spangled Banner” a cappella style on center stage in front of the American Flag. The judging lineup included NASCAR pit reporter Dick Berggren, WMUR/ABC 9 news anchor Jennifer Vaughn, RCA Records director of northeast promotion Dan Nelson, and New Hampshire Motor Speedway's executive vice president and general manager Jerry Gappens. New England's Best Country station WOKQ/97.5 FM Morning Waking Crew host Mark Ericson served as emcee of this “Idol-style” competition.
12-year old sensation, Emma Joanis, from Windham, N.H., blew the judges away with her performance of the National Anthem. Executive vice president and general manager, Jerry Gappens, was so impressed he decided to choose three winners instead of two, giving Joanis the unexpected opportunity to sing during the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on July 15.
“Judging this competition was hard because there was so much talent,” said Gappens. “Emma was the whole package. She had a great voice, dressed well, and spoke very maturely for her age. She stole the competition and I think she will complement our LENOX Industrial Tools 301 pre-race show.”
“I’ve sang at other big venues, but this will certainly be my largest,” stated Emma Joanis. “I don’t do a lot of competitions. This would be the first trophy I have received and I am really excited about it.”
Haverhill, Mass.-native, Jillian Marie Cardarelli is no stranger to performing. As our second-place winner, this 19-year old Providence College student has performed at local competitions since she was a child. Cardarelli will perform at the July NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour New England 100 on July 14.
“Keep doing what you’re doing, you have a very bright future. Well done,” said Jennifer Vaughn, WMUR/News Anchor.
Joshua Young from Concord, N.H., was the last contestant to perform but nonetheless wow-ed the judges. Finishing third, the thirty-three year old church choir singer was the best male performer of the day. Young will perform at the September 22 F.W. Webb 100 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
“I only go to Church for funerals or weddings, but I would definitely go to hear you sing,” said NASCAR-pit reporter Dick Berggren.
“You don’t always know what you’re going to get when you come to these competitions. It was real hard to judge this,” said RCA executive Dan Nelson. “A lot of times you find three or four great singers, but at this competition all of the contestants deserved to be on the stage to begin with. All of them were really close to winning in the end.”
Great seats, camping, hospitality, VIP packages, and pre-race pit passes are still available for the LENOX Industrial Tools 301 on July 15 or the SYLVANIA 300 on Sept. 23. To purchase the Jeff Gordon “Magic Mile Club” package, please call the speedway ticket hotline at (603) 783-4931. For more information on events, visit nhms.com.