TRACK STAR

Jessica Andrews gets into an Indy race car

It's over 90 degrees on the track at Nashville SuperSpeedway. But despite the scorching heat, Jessica Andrews steps into a heavy fire suit - the kind Indy car drivers wear - and zips it up.

"Whoa!" she says. "Now it's really hot!"

Then Jessica catches a glimpse of the growling 650 horsepower Indy Racing League car that's waiting for her, and she forgets all about the sizzling temperature.

"What have I gotten myself into?" she says as she pulls a helmet over her head and fastens the buckle under her chin.

With her latest hit, "Good Time," charging up the charts, Jessica is hardly quitting her singing gig - she's simply chasing a thrill. And she's doing it with the help of her friend, Indy Racing League driver Sarah Fisher, who she met three years ago when Jessica sang the national anthem at the Indianapolis 500.

Crew members strap Jessica into the low-slung seat behind driver Davey Hamilton. "I don't have a clue how fast this is going to be," she admits a bit sheepishly.

"This is going to be awesome!" exclaims Jessica's boyfriend, Marcel, who's documenting the event with two cameras. "I want to go."

Suddenly, with a loud vroom!, Jessica is gone. The car turns into a colorful blur as it disappears down the track, hitting 100 mph in just three seconds. The car whips around the track three times, then all at once screeches to a halt back in pit row.

"My word!" exclaims Jessica, as she struggles to climb out of her seat. She pulls off her helmet and runs her hands through her short, tousled hair. Sarah runs up to greet her.

"I thought we were going to flip!" says Jessica. "The corners were unbelievable! The whole time I'm thinking, 'How do you do this with other people on the track?' "

"You did great," Sarah smiles. "You clocked 160 mph!"

Someone asks Jessica if she would do it again.

"Without a doubt!" she says.

"I knew it," says Sarah. "She wasn't even nervous."

In the spirit of sharing, the following day Sarah steps into Jessica's world - a Nashville recording studio. But she faces her own fears. "There's some things I love to do," says Sarah. "But some things scare me."

Like carrying a tune. "I can't sing at all," she declares. "I have a horrible voice."

Nonetheless, Jessica entices Sarah with a tour of the studio's high-tech soundboards and equipment. "The producers make you try different microphones," explains Jessica. "You don't just walk up to a mic and start singing. Check this one out. It costs around $6,000."

"Whoa!" exclaims Sarah. "That's insane!"

"Well, how much do your tires cost?" laughs Jessica, who moves on to show her friend the different parts of the mic.

"This filter keeps my 'p's' from popping," continues Jessica.

"Oh," says Sarah. "Like in Penske."

Despite Jessica's prodding, Sarah declines to lay down one of her own tracks. "I'm going to confine my singing to inside the car," chuckles Sarah, "where nobody can hear it."

So, who has the tougher career? Sarah and Jessica answer in unison.

"She does!" they exclaim.

"I can't even conceptualize the thought of driving for a living," confesses Jessica. "I looked straight ahead during the whole ride. I had that red panic button in my sights just in case." She takes a deep breath. "But it was fun!"

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