Even those of us in country radio had to re-read the new artist nominations and ask why Justin Moore was up for the award against Brett Eldredge and Kip Moore (no relation.) Justin Moore who just celebrated his 30th birthday at the end of March made his debut in 2007, which is why some people are questioning his new artist nomination.

Justin said he’s just thrilled to be nominated after being overlooked for so long.

“It’s really exciting for us to finally get this monkey off our back,” he tells Connecticut radio station 92-5. “I feel like forever I was the coach who could win games, but not the big one.”

“It sounds kind of funny, but I’m kind of a country music history buff,” he explains. “Throughout the history of this award, people have won it well into their careers. [Kenny] Chesney won it five, six, seven years after his first album … so it sounds a little funnier than what it historically has, who’s won it over the years, so hopefully we’re the next one in line. We’ll see.”

Moore admits at this point in his career, he’d take any trophy. Justin is in the running for New Artist of the Year along with Kip Moore and Brett Eldredge.

The 49th Annual ACM Awards will air from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas this Sunday, April 6 at 8PM ET on CBS.