Country music and NASCAR join forces in Nashville this weekend for the fifth annual Sprint Sound & Speed festival. The two-day event, featuring appearances by Chris Young, Hank Williams, Jr., Vince Gill, Jason Michael Carroll, Danny Gokey, Josh Turner and Love & Theft, begins Friday with a concert at the Ryman Auditorium and wraps Saturday with an all-day autograph session and q-and-a with top NASCAR drivers and country music stars. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Michael Waltrip, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and David Stremme are among the drivers attending the festival.

Chris, who counts Dale Jr. and Tony Stewart among his favorite racers, says he's been a big fan of NASCAR since he was a child. "I grew up watching it," explains the Tennessee native. "My dad was always a big NASCAR fan, so it was one of those things where he'd have it on TV, and I'd [say], 'Well, how does this work?' And he'd say, 'Well, they turn left a lot.' We'd sit there and watch NASCAR together, and I started following drivers and just really getting into the sport."

As he's become successful in his music career, Chris has had a few opportunities to perform the national anthem at race events. "It's been really exciting for me, being a fan and having that perspective of being able to go out there and hang out and watch the race. It's just always been something that I've been interested in. I love the fact that with this event, they pair the two of these things together. It's just my job not to pester the drivers while they're here!"

Josh Turner notes the similarities between country music and NASCAR fans. "The common man, they're all about fixin' their own things, building their own things, and one of those things is cars and motors and automobiles," explains the father of two. "It's a simple concept -- drive fast and turn left, and that's kind the way country music is. We write our own songs, we tell our own stories, and it's all about real life. And I think NASCAR and country have that in common."

Dale Jr. says the Sound & Speed event is a great way to catch up with his buddies. "It's a lot of fun to run into some old friends and see some of the drivers, too," says the driver of No. 88. "We all go our own way during the winter. It's really the first interaction we have with the fans at the beginning of the season, so it's pretty exciting. Gets you pumped up."

Sound & Speed benefits both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Victory Junction Gang Camp, founded by driver Kyle Petty and his wife Pattie. The camp is a year-round facility for children aged six to 16, who are suffering from chronic medical conditions or severe and life-threatening illnesses. Last year, the event raised more than $400,000 for both charities.