DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Former “American Idol” winner Kelly Clarkson got her first spin around NASCAR’s most famous track and her first look at Britney Spears’ shaved head Saturday.
Both were equally surprising.
Nextel Cup champion Jimmie Johnson drove Clarkson around the 2½-mile superspeedway at high speeds in a pace car. Clarkson had ridden in an actual race car at California Speedway, but said her trip around Daytona was much more intimidating because of the higher bankings.
“I literally almost peed myself,” said Clarkson, who will perform NASCAR’s “Tribute to America” before Sunday’s Daytona 500. “It was scary. I didn’t like today. Jimmie did a really good job driving it. I was just really scared. ... I almost got sick. I don’t know how they do that over and over and over. I just felt like we were going to crash the whole time. I was probably making him nervous. I didn’t scream or anything, so I wasn’t that much of a wuss.”
Clarkson got another shock when she learned Spears had a new hairdo.
“OK, are y’all kidding? Somebody just told me that out there, and I think that’s a joke,” she said. “She does not have a shaved head. Are you for real?”
“Wow. Hey, Sinead O’Connor. Right on. She’s bringing it back,” Clarkson said. “She’s Britney Spears. She can do whatever she wants. It will end up being cool. Somebody will start shaving their head; everybody will. I find that hard to believe until I see a picture.”
“Well, she’s still hot,” Clarkson added. “So whatever. If you can pull that off, go for it. I like my hair, so I’m keeping it. ... That’s crazy.”
Clarkson was one of two former “American Idol” stars on hand Saturday.
Kellie Pickler sang two songs and performed the national anthem before the Busch Series race.
Other celebrities scheduled to appear at Daytona include: actor Nicholas Cage (grand marshal), former baseball star Cal Ripken Jr. (pace car driver) and country music group Big & Rich, who will sing the national anthem Sunday.
The nation grieved for those hurt, killed and affected by the Boston Marathon bombings. After one of the suspects was caught on Friday — following a day-long lockdown and manhunt — sports returned to Boston over the weekend.
“I’m Kasey Kahne all the way,” she said. “Those pretty blue eyes, whew!”
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