Numerous entertainers, including country music sensations Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler, have performed the national anthem prior to races this year at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

But when track officials began searching for someone to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" during the Nov. 3-4 Domino's Pizza World Short-Track Championships at The Dirt Track, they only had to look down the hall.

Sarah Conley, a 20-year-old communications junior at UNC Charlotte, has been interning in the speedway's marketing and public relations department since mid-September. When speedway officials learned Conley was a member of The Hurleys, a bluegrass gospel group, they asked if she would be interested in performing the national anthem for The Dirt Track's season finale.

"I was surprised they would consider an intern to sing the national anthem," Conley said. "I'm sure they had a lot of other choices, and I'm flattered they selected me."

A native of Hickory, N.C., Conley has been singing since age 4. Her musical résumé includes five years of training and participation in three different groups.

"My dad had a musical background, but my parents never pushed me into singing," Conley explained. "After singing in contests and local events in front of an audience, I realized singing was something I wanted to do long term."

In between her studies and the internship, Conley spends the weekends singing with The Hurleys. The six-member group performs approximately 70 times a year, crisscrossing the Carolinas to sing at a variety of festivals and church functions.

"Sometimes it's hard to balance everything," Conley said. "But these are the commitments I've made and I'm passionate about all of them, so I do my best."

Conley is looking forward to singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at The Dirt Track.

"This internship has allowed me to gain experience working in motorsports, but now it's allowing me to include my passion, which is singing," Conley added. "It's not every day people get a chance like this. I just want to do the national anthem justice because it's a very special song."

The Domino's Pizza World Short-Track Championships features six divisions of racing, including the limited late models of the United Southern Late Model Series; the winged sprint cars of the Heintz Performance American Sprint Car Series; the crate models of the Fastrak Racing Series; stock 4-cylinders; IMCA modifieds; and CRASHCars.

Practice and qualifying heat races for each division will be Friday night with the last chance races and championship features on tap Saturday night.

One ticket is good for both nights of the Domino's Pizza World Short-Track Championships. Adult seats are just $25 with children ages 12 and under admitted for $10.

Tickets can be obtained online at www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or by calling the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS.