Can NASCAR Drivers Listen To Music?

Some NASCAR races can take upwards of four hours. That’s a long time, especially for the drivers! Sitting in a car for that amount of time, like on a road trip, can quickly become boring, especially if it’s a solo mission. Once you turn on your favorite playlist, the miles usually seem to fly by, making the trip more bearable.

But can NASCAR drivers do the same thing? For the most part, no, NASCAR drivers don’t listen to music as they work. There are a few reasons behind this (and a few exceptions), so continue reading to learn more!

Do NASCAR Drivers Listen To Music?

After a few hours by yourself on a road trip, you might become bored—the miles drag by, making the trip feel much longer than it actually is. While highway speeds are much slower than the breakneck pace of a NASCAR race, drivers still remain in their vehicles for a long time. Sometimes, the race continues for several hours.

However, while the race might take a few hours before the drivers complete it, they don’t listen to music as they drive. There are a couple of reasons for this, including the car’s design, distractions, communication, and the need to be aware of the vehicle.

Car Design

NASCAR vehicles are a far cry from the spiffy, decked-out cars and trucks you find in your local car dealership’s showroom. While new everyday vehicles for us ordinary folks usually feature speakers, radios, and other tech additions, NASCAR vehicles don’t have these things.

Although NASCAR vehicles are fully equipped with various features, they don’t have the stereo systems you find in a typical car. So, the driver can’t exactly tether to a Bluetooth speaker system and blare their tunes while racing.

And while they technically could keep a pair of Bluetooth headphones on hand to listen to their favorite playlists as they whiz around the track, they don’t.


NASCAR racing isn’t for the faint of heart – drivers maneuver their cars around the track at breakneck speeds, which requires rapid reflexes and concentration to avoid accidents. It’s not like they’re out for a leisurely highway drive – they’re going much faster (these cars top out at about 200 mph).

So, given the speed, presence of other drivers, and shape of the track, every driver needs to be on their game. Something as simple as jamming out to their favorite playlist could create a distraction, potentially resulting in fiery accidents. So, to stay on their A-game, NASCAR drivers don’t listen to music as they race.

Distractions (like music) can affect their ability to concentrate on the task at hand, so it’s essential to remain alert as they drive. For example, have you ever been driving in a new area and turned down your music to “see” better?

This is a prime example of music as a distraction. In this particular case, you might turn down your music to enable focus on your other senses. The same concept applies to NASCAR drivers – they don’t listen to music as it could distract them from their other senses (not to mention communication efforts from their team).


Aside from the car’s design and the distraction music provides, NASCAR drivers need to keep excess noise to a minimum to communicate with their teammates. Each driver has a two-way radio that keeps them connected to their team. If the driver were listening to music, they wouldn’t be able to hear their team’s communication efforts, potentially leading to catastrophic results.

There must be an open line of communication between each driver and their team. The team may need to communicate information that causes the driver to alter their course or behavior as needed. The team can transmit various types of information, everything from warnings of debris ahead on the track to tips of an advancing car behind the driver.

Whatever it might be, the driver needs to hear their team’s communication, so music is a no-go.

Connected To The Car

NASCAR drivers are highly attuned to their vehicles, noting every vibration, shift, and noise that could indicate an issue. If the driver were listening to music, they might miss key noises from their vehicle that could indicate failures or problems with the vehicle. In some cases, this could result in collisions, breakdowns, and accidents, so it’s crucial to remain attentive.

Can NASCAR Drivers Listen To Music While Practicing For Races?


Races aren’t the only place NASCAR drivers whip around the track at breakneck speeds. To prepare for races and hone their skills, drivers need to practice. They spend countless hours practicing for races, so what about these times? Can they listen to music while practicing?

While they can, it usually depends on the type of practice they’re doing. Some practice runs require careful focus and control, so drivers don’t listen to music. However, on some practice days, some drivers might decide to listen to music.

That said, many drivers choose to focus on concentration and control whether they’re practicing for an upcoming race or it’s race day, so listening to music throughout isn’t a priority.

Do NASCAR Drivers Have Radios?

As mentioned, NASCAR drivers have a two-way radio in their cars. The radio allows them to communicate with their teammates and professional crew, which is essential for safety. The radio you find in a NASCAR vehicle can vary based on the particular car, but the general function is the same: communication between the driver and the team.

Some NASCAR vehicles feature digital systems for easier communication, while others continue to feature analog equipment. Some pits still use intercom systems – it all depends on the particular team in question.

Can NASCAR Drivers Hear Each Other?

Although radios are a staple in NASCAR vehicles, they don’t enable communication between drivers. Prior to the NASCAR 2012 Cup Season, the drivers could communicate with each other via radio. However, following this season, this was banned to stop tandem drafting from occurring during the race.

Instead, a NASCAR driver’s radio allows them to communicate with various team members, including the manager, driver, crew chief, and spotter. Race engineers and mechanics may also be present on the radio line.

Drivers wear full helmets and head, neck, and shoulder restraints for safety (safety protocol and improvements following Dale Earnhardt’s fatal crash in 2001), so they rely on their team and communication devices to keep them informed throughout the race.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Fans Hear NASCAR’s Radio Chatter?

Surprisingly enough, fans can listen in on the communication between a pit crew and the driver. Fans can purchase or rent scanners at the track that allow them to tune into the communication between drivers and their teams. While many drivers attempt to keep it clean, there are some scenarios where language gets colorful, so it might not be ideal for everyone.

In addition to an inside ear for communication, these scanners also let fans watch videos and monitor statistics, so they’re pretty handy.

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