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Plum Diamonds Lab Grown Diamond Rings

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and O.A.R.


I give up. This board is too hard to understand.
Jun 16, 2003
Gods Waiting Room, FL

Sound Decision
Earnhardt, NASCAR help lure O.A.R. video shoot to Mooresville
By Bridget Cronin
Photos by Richard Rudisill
Lake Norman Magazine
September 2004

For one rare day this summer, Dale Earnhardt Jr. found himself alone in Mooresville. No screaming fans demanding autographs. No reporters or photographers hounding him. Not even a fellow driver or friend nearby.

This unlikely scenario wasn’t real life, but a music video he filmed with the alternative rock band O.A.R. in Mooresville in late June. For two days, History’s Restaurant and downtown Mooresville were turned into a studio used to film a video for the song “Right on Time.” As it turns out, NASCAR not only brings tourists to Race City USA, but also bands wanting to make music videos.

For two days, NASCAR Images, which produced the video, transformed History’s into a saloon filled with fans being inspired by O.A.R.’s music. “The song’s about faith and people questioning faith, or why bad things happen to good people,” says Chris Stevens, who co-directed the video.

In the video, Earnhardt is running poorly in a race. During a pit stop he looks up at the infield video screen playing an O.A.R. video. As the music begins, Earnhardt is no longer on the racetrack but instead on an empty street, and he’s run out of gas. For once in his life, he is alone, with no one to help him. Even the pay phone on the street is out of order. Earnhardt sees someone enter a building, and he follows to find O.A.R. playing to a group of happy people. The video shifts back to the track, where his pit stop is over. As he races back onto the track, Earnhardt glances at the screen on the infield to see O.A.R. playing, and he is back on the track, picking up positions as the band finishes the song.

“The song hit a chord with (Earnhardt),” says Dave Roberge, manager of O.A.R. (Of a Revolution) and brother of lead singer Marc Roberge. He is referring to the pressures Earnhardt Jr. has dealt with since his father, racing legend Dale Earnhardt, died in a crash at Daytona International Speedway in 2001. “(The song is) about keeping faith. … It was tricky having him involved. We didn’t want it to seem like a death video,” Roberge says.

It wasn’t just the younger Earnhardt and local buildings that were featured. A few lucky extras from the area got their chance at 15 minutes of fame as well. Sylvia Spury took a day of vacation from her job at the Mooresville/South Iredell Chamber of Commerce and was an extra along with her daughter Jen and niece Miranda Fulgham. Both were feature extras, meaning they are more prominent than other extras. “They thought it was a blast,” Spury says.

Shooting a video is harder than it appears, even for the extras. “It was very tedious, and you have a lot of respect for people who make videos, because it’s not as easy as it looks,” Spury says. The crew spent several hours filming a scene that may only be a minute of the video.

Chris Grant, the owner of History’s Restaurant, where the bar scenes were shot, says the crew spent about 90 minutes filming the band, which had to play the same song over and over. “It was take after take after take,” Grant says.

The atmosphere was very relaxed though, and Grant says the band members were nice guys with good attitudes. Earnhardt, who is Grant’s favorite NASCAR driver, was gracious as well.

“I don’t know if it’s something I’d do again. It was a long day,” Spury says, especially because the extras weren’t paid. Even so, Spury says the experience was worth it.

Different look
Grant was impressed with how the crew transformed his restaurant into a dusty saloon. “It was really interesting how they could hide anything they didn’t want to see.” To make the space appear smaller, the crew covered the booths and tables in the back with black felt.

History’s was chosen partly because it was still under construction, allowing the production crew to take over the building without worrying about the restaurant having to open for dinner. In addition, Grant allowed the crew to make changes to the interior, including extending the stage, moving a wall and painting the windows. Grant says those changes have actually helped him better plan the restaurant’s layout and design for live entertainment, which he plans to have when the restaurant opens, which he expects to be later this year.

Conan O’Brien can take part of the credit for the project, because Earnhardt and the band met when they were guests on his show. Earnhardt is a fan of O.A.R., a band many compare to the Dave Matthews Band because of the type of music they play as well as how the band got its start through word of mouth on college campuses. Earnhardt included an O.A.R. song on a DVD that was produced by NASCAR Images. “One thing led to another, and we wound up doing a music video,” says Gerry Martin of NASCAR Images, who also worked on “Right on Time.”

Martin says using NASCAR footage in music videos, movies and commercials is a big initiative for NASCAR Images, which is based in Charlotte and is essentially NASCAR’s production arm. Martin says that through projects such as this, NASCAR hopes to project a mainstream image. “Our hope is that the young crowd associates NASCAR with good, current music.”

The Mooresville/South Iredell Chamber of Commerce helped with location scouting and street closings, as well as with finding extras, a historic car and a phone booth to use in filming.

Mooresville and History’s got to star in the video in large part because of Earnhardt. In addition to the proximity to the speedway and Dale Earnhardt Inc., where some scenes were filmed, the area is Earnhardt’s home. “It was special for Dale to have the video be in his hometown,” Roberge says. It also helped that the video concept called for a hometown feel, he says.

“The people of Mooresville couldn’t have been more hospitable to the band,” Roberge says. “There’s something to be said about that Southern treatment.”

A lot of production companies come to the Charlotte area to film ads or videos with NASCAR drivers, says Beth Petty, director of the film division of the Charlotte Regional Partnership. “They come in and see how great the region is … and they come back to do other things.”

Martin, of NASCAR Images, agrees. He says of Mooresville, “I can’t believe location scouts aren’t there all the time going, ‘Wow!’”

And the local cuisine impressed the production crew as well.

The filming added a small boost to the local economy, according to Melanie O’Connell Underwood of the Chamber of Commerce. She says the band stayed overnight in a local hotel and spent money in local businesses.

Grant plans to throw a premiere party at History’s when the video debuts. However, those plans can’t be set just yet because the video first must be approved by O.A.R., the record label and Earnhardt. “Right on Time” was expected to be finished in early August and then released, though the time line wasn’t set at the time of publication. The production team will meet with MTV, VH1 and CMT to sell the video, and Roberge says the band will use NASCAR events to help promote it.

Like the extras, Grant didn’t get paid for allowing the team to use History’s. But he did enjoy the experience, he says.

Want To Listen?
“Right on Time” is on O.A.R.’s latest album, “In Between Now and Then.”

O.A.R.’s music is also featured on the video and DVD “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Any Given Day,” available on nascar.com.

O.A.R.’s new double live album, 34th and 8th, was scheduled to be released Aug. 24. The album includes two new songs as well as older fan favorites.