NASCAR announces changes to Competition Executive Team: NASCAR announced that Elton Sawyer has been promoted to the role of Vice President, Officiating and Technical Inspection and John Probst has joined the organization as Managing Director, Competition and Innovation. Additionally, NASCAR made the following promotions within its competition team:
ˇ Brad Moran will transition to Managing Director, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
ˇ Brandon Thompson will become the Senior Director, Touring Series
ˇ George Grippo will join the competition team as Managing Director, Competition Technology and Timing & Scoring
ˇ Jusan Hamilton will become Manager, Racing Operations & Event Management
Sawyer, who will continue reporting to Senior Vice President of Competition Scott Miller, transitions to his new role after serving the last two seasons as Managing Director of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He will oversee multiple functions to ensure NASCAR events are the best in motorsports, including inspection/officiating; officials training and development; and the events and transportation groups.
Probst joins NASCAR after serving as Technical Director for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. He also held the same role at Red Bull Racing, and spent more than 11 years as Engineering Supervisor at Ford Motor Company.
Moran will oversee the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after serving in a similar capacity over the NASCAR Touring Series. The Canada native brings more than 25 years of motorsports experience into the role, including serving as owner of Barrie (Ontario) Speedway.
Thompson, who will transition into Moran's role, has more than 10 years of experience at NASCAR. He also served a two-year role as operations manager at Revolution Racing. After rejoining NASCAR in 2012, Thompson has held a number of responsibilities in the company's Racing Operations team, including the coordination and administration of weekly race activities.
Grippo, who has provided oversight of NASCAR Productions' Technology Field and Media Operations department as its managing director since September 2013, moves to the Competition team to lead the constantly evolving technology and timing and scoring realm, while retaining many of his at-track technology field responsibilities.
Hamilton first joined NASCAR in 2012 as a member of the company's Diversity Internship Program in both the Racing Operations and Integrated Marketing Communications departments. In 2013, he joined the sanctioning body fulltime as a member of its IMC team, later transitioning to the Industry Operations department.(NASCAR)(7-12-2016)
Memo From David Higdon, V.P., NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications: As many of you now know, Kerry Tharp, NASCAR Senior Director, Racing Communications has been named President of Darlington Raceway. All of us here at NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications take tremendous pride in the fact that ISC chose a member of our team to lead efforts for one of the sport's most iconic facilities. The selection also is a testament to Kerry's acumen and the work that he has done cultivating strong relationships with so many of you in the media. He will be a great asset to Darlington and ISC, and will remain an essential advocate for NASCAR in his new role.
We're fortunate that the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications team is filled with great talent, so I'm equally thrilled to announce the following:
Matt Ciesluk has been promoted to Senior Director. He's been an invaluable member of the IMC team for several years, and he'll take on additional responsibilities in media relations moving forward. I know many of you had the chance to connect with Matt when he was in Sonoma this past week.
Mike Forde has been promoted to Director, Racing Communications. I hope you all agree that Mike's ability to work effectively with the media on a number of levels will allow him to excel in this new role.
Stephanie Harris will be promoted to Senior Manager, Content Communications. Stephanie has developed into a strong leader in our Daytona office, and she now will help lead our efforts in Content.(NASCAR)(6-30-2016)
Brian France not speaking/attending Republican National Convention: Contrary to a report Monday by Bloomberg, NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France does not plan to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland next month. "Brian does not plan to speak at nor attend the convention," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a statement. The report comes four months after France and drivers Chase Elliott, Ryan Newman and David Ragan appeared at a campaign rally for presumptive Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump and endorsed him.(NBC Sports)(6-30-2016)
Kerry Tharp named president of Darlington: Darlington Raceway announced that it has named Kerry Tharp as President of the track Too Tough To Tame, effective July 18. Tharp accepts the role from his most recent position as Senior Director of Racing Communications for NASCAR. Tharp replaces current Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile, who accepted the position of President of Daytona International Speedway back in April. Tharp, a Louisville, Ky. native, joined NASCAR in April of 2005 after a successful 20-year career as Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations for the University of South Carolina (1985-2005) in Columbia. He worked for 26 total years in intercollegiate athletics prior to joining NASCAR. He also served two years at the University of Tennessee and four years at the University of Oklahoma, prior to the University of South Carolina. Since 2005, Tharp has played an integral role in the communications efforts for NASCAR, having forged strong relationships for the sanctioning body with the drivers, race teams and tracks. Tharp holds a Bachelor's Degree in public relations from Western Kentucky University and a Master's Degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He has been a resident of South Carolina for over 31 years. He has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 33 years and they have two children (J.B. and Will) and two grandsons.(Darlington Raceway)(6-29-2016)
Lesa France Kennedy inducted into Cynopsis Hall of Fame: International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy was inducted Thursday into the Cynopsis Sports Hall of Fame at the New York Athletic Club. Kennedy was feted at the organization's fifth annual Sports Business Summit in New York. She joined ESPN founder Bill Rasmussen (left in the above photograph) and Major League Baseball executive Billy Bean as inductees recognized for their roles in transforming the sports world and its influence on popular culture.
Mark Lazarus, the chairman of NBC Sports Group, presented Kennedy for enshrinement. A large component of Kennedy's plan for enhancements debuted this season at Daytona International Speedway's Speedweeks, when the Daytona Rising vision came to life. The $400 million project, which broke ground in July 2013, reshaped ISC's flagship facility with state-of-the-art amenities.(NASCAR.com)
ESPN Founder Bill Rasmussen, the legendary entrepreneur who single-handedly changed the way the world watches sports and television, as well as Kennedy and Sports Illustrated's Peter King and Major League Baseball's Vice President of Social Responsibility & Inclusion, Billy Bean.(New York Sports Day)(6-25-2016)
Brian France among "Most Influential": Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR is #13 on Sports Business Journal's list of the Top 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business. They say:
"It was a busy year for NASCAR. The spor's new elimination-style Chase for the Sprint Cup continued to garner attention, as did new TV deals with Fox and NBC. NASCAR also made gains in social media and developed a new trackside retail model. Now France must find a replacement for departing title sponsor Sprint, and finalize the coming 'charter' system designed to give team owners equity in the sport."
Number 1 on the list is Bob Iger, the CEO of Walt Disney Co.(Sports Business Daily)(12-8-2015)
Lesa France Kennedy named Most Powerful Woman in Sports: Who are the most powerful women in sports? Managing over 1,000 employees and helping drive an estimated $700 million in annual revenues, racing heiress Lesa France Kennedy has established herself as the most influential female in the business of sports. As CEO of International Speedway Corporation (ISC), Kennedy manages thirteen of America's biggest race tracks, while also playing a key role in steering the multibillion-dollar juggernaut that is NASCAR as a member of its board of directors. The granddaughter of Bill France Sr., a 1930s-era stockcar racer who founded NASCAR in 1948, and the daughter of Bill France Jr., who ran the organization from 1972 to 2000, the 54-year-old Kennedy has spent more than three decades leading ISC's expansion out of the South with the construction and acquisition of tracks in Illinois, New York, California and several other states. More significantly, Kennedy has served as a mentor and inspiration for hundreds of aspiring female sports executives, which is why a panel of sports insiders ranked her first on this list of The 25 Most Powerful Women In Sports.
Coming in second is Michele Roberts, the recently appointed executive director of the National Basketball Players Association. In third is Christine Driessen, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ESPN.(Forbes)(12-3-2015)
Pemberton leaving NASCAR UPDATES: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President of Competition Robin Pemberton will leave the organization at the end of 2015. With a racing career that has spanned five decades, Pemberton joined the sanctioning body in August of 2004. Since that time, he has overseen all areas of NASCAR competition and been credited as a key component in bridging the gap between the sanctioning body and the racing community.
"Robin has left an indelible mark on the sport while at NASCAR," said NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton. "He joined us at a critical time and very quickly gave our highly visible competition group the credibility and confidence it needed to be successful with the industry. He traded a successful career as a competitor to help lead the sport for 12 seasons. We're extremely grateful for his many contributions."
During Pemberton's tenure, NASCAR has seen a great number of technical and safety advancements. Against the backdrop of the massive NASCAR Research & Development Center, Pemberton's Competition teams overhauled the inspection and rules process and procedures for all vehicles racing in the national series. He oversaw the transitions of NASCAR to Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) and to race fuels with blended Sunoco E15. Among the largest undertakings under his purview was the launch of the acclaimed Generation 6 style car in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2013. That style just completed its third season of on-track racing.
"I'm proud of what we've been able to accomplish during my time at NASCAR," Pemberton said. "This sport has been my entire professional career and working with all the competitors and the auto manufacturers for the last 12 seasons has been a thrill. I feel good knowing that the work this team has done has had a positive impact on the sport. I look forward to the next challenge." Pemberton will help in the transition to a new competition lead for the balance of the year.(NASCAR)(12-1-2015)
UPDATE: The "Boys, have at it" era of NASCAR is over as Scott Miller replaces Robin Pemberton as senior vice president of competition, effective immediately. Miller, 58, spent the last four years as the Executive Vice President of Competition for Michael Waltrip Racing. In his first season with organization, he helped transform a mid-pack team to championship contenders, as both Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex Jr. transferred into the 2012 Chase. Five of the MWR's seven Cup wins were earned during Miller's tenure. Over the last two decades that Miller has developed solid relationships throughout the garage. He's earned the respect of his teammates and competitors alike for his personal yet pragmatic approach to racing. Miller also understands the challenges current racing organizations face with the multitude of changes and alterations directed from the sanctioning body.(Motorsport)(12-2-2015)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR announced that Scott Miller has joined the organization as Senior Vice President of Competition, responsible for managing all competition efforts related to technology, inspection, rule development and officiating across NASCAR's wide portfolio of racing. Miller will report directly to Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O'Donnell, and work closely with Senior Vice President of Innovation and Racing Development Gene Stefanyshyn. All three are based at NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, N.C. Miller most recently served as Executive Vice President of Competition at Michael Waltrip Racing. There he was responsible for managing all areas of competition. During his four-year tenure, MWR teams qualified for the Chase for the Sprint Cup in 2012, 2013, and 2015.(NASCAR)(12-2-2015)
Brett Jewkes leaving NASCAR: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes has accepted a senior management position with Atlanta-based AMB Group, LLC, the investment management and support services arm of Arthur Blank's family of businesses, and will leave his role at NASCAR following Ford Championship Weekend. Jewkes joined NASCAR in 2011 after serving as an outside agency counsel to the sanctioning body beginning in late 2000. At NASCAR, Jewkes has led the company's Integrated Marketing Communications department and overseen NASCAR's relationship with the operators of the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Working closely with NASCAR senior management, he has played a key role in the development and execution of numerous strategic initiatives, spearheaded the creation of NASCAR's acclaimed Fan & Media Engagement Center and guided the evolution of the sport's hall of fame nomination, selection and induction process. Jewkes joins AMB Group as senior vice president - chief communications officer at a time of exciting growth and will work closely with Blank, who co-founded The Home Depot before establishing AMB Group and building its portfolio of businesses. In addition to the for-profit businesses, Jewkes will also support the efforts of The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation.(NASCAR)(11-2-2015)
Brian France and wife honored by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and his wife Amy will be honored by Gabrielle's Angel Foundation at the annual Angel Ball on Oct. 19 in New York for their contributions to pediatric cancer research. Four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jeff Gordon will introduce the Frances at the gala at Cipriani Wall Street. NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy, NASCAR Executive Vice President / Assistant Treasurer and The NASCAR Foundation Chairwoman Betty Jane France and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy also are scheduled to be in attendance. This will mark the latest philanthropic achievement from the Frances, who founded the Luke and Meadow Foundation, named after their four-year old twins, in 2011. They have since supported, raised awareness, given their time and made multi-million dollar donations to a wide range of causes they are passionate about, including: Stand Up For Heroes in support of 9-11 families, Autism Speaks, the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research, Providence Day School and many others.(NASCAR Wire Service)(10-17-2015)
Jill Gregory to lead NASCAR Marketing: NASCAR announced that Senior Vice President Jill Gregory, who currently oversees the company's Industry Services department, will also assume leadership of NASCAR Marketing effective immediately. Gregory replaces Kim Brink who was named Chief Operating Officer of Global Team Ford, the WPP-owned group of agencies dedicated to Ford. In her current role, Gregory oversees a group that includes Driver, Team and Event Marketing Services, as well as Industry Operations. She has led NASCAR's Driver Star Power initiative and spearheaded industry integration on the rollout of numerous marketing initiatives, including the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase format in 2014. With her added responsibilities, she will now lead Brand Marketing, Marketing and Media Research, and NASCAR Creative Design. She also serves as a member of the board of directors for The NASCAR Foundation. Gregory will report to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer, Steve Phelps on Marketing and continue to report to NASCAR Chief Racing Development Officer, Steve O'Donnell on Industry Services. Gregory joined NASCAR in 2007 after serving as Senior Vice President of Motorsports Marketing at Bank of America and prior to that served as Director of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Marketing at Sprint NEXTEL. Brink has led all marketing initiatives at NASCAR since 2011, spearheading award-winning advertising creative, the launch of NASCAR's current Hispanic outreach efforts, as well as the development of NASCAR's acclaimed youth marketing platform, Acceleration Nation.(NASCAR)(6-11-2015)
Lesa France Kennedy featured on CBS Sunday Morning: Losing her father and husband within a month of time made 2007 the "toughest year" of her life, NASCAR Vice Chairperson and International Speedway Corporation Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy tells Michelle Miller in an interview for CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood to be broadcast May 10, 2015 (9:00am/et) on the CBS Television Network. Kennedy is part of a stock car racing dynasty. She is the granddaughter of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., and daughter of Bill France, Jr., who was Vice Chairman of NASCAR when he died after a long illness in 2007. Then, a month later, Kennedy's husband, Dr. Bruce Kennedy, died in a small plane crash not far from the family's Florida home. In a wide-ranging interview, Kennedy opens up about rebuilding her life after losing her husband; guiding her son Ben Kennedy's NASCAR driving career, efforts to broaden the reach of stock car racing in the country, and the future of the International Speedway Corporation's Daytona International Speedway. In an additional excerpt at CBSNews.com, Kennedy tells Miller that she got through the tragedy of losing her husband by staying close with her son. Ben Kennedy talks with Miller about his racing career, and growing up in the family business. His mother, he says, had him doing a variety of jobs around Daytona, from parking cars, to cleaning up.(NASCAR)(5-9-2015)
Darby leaving NASCAR UPDATE: NASCAR confirmed Wednesday that John Darby, who formerly oversaw the Sprint Cup garage, will be leaving the series soon. No reason was given. Darby had been working on special projects most recently for NASCAR. He served as the Sprint Cup Series director from 2002-13 before Richard Buck took over in 2014. NASCAR initially announced that Darby was leaving his position as Cup director in 2010, but it took four years to replace him. Darby replaced Gary Nelson as Cup series director in 2002. Darby was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 before moving to Cup.(NBC Sports)(4-22-2015)
UPDATE: John Darby won't spend a lot of time talking about the details of his departure from NASCAR. Yes, he's leaving. But the hows and the whys are not something to be talked about as much as his three decades in the sport. Darby had served as the Sprint Cup Series director for 12 years before being replaced by Richard Buck prior to the 2014 season. A former racer before becoming a track official in Rockford, Illinois, Darby spent more than 25 years working for NASCAR and was the director of what is now the Xfinity Series from 1999-2001 prior to his promotion to run the sport's top series. Calling himself a "blessed individual," Darby is in his final days at NASCAR with no job on the horizon. "I think I'm going to take a month and sit on a beach and figure out what I really want to do next," the 59-year-old said in a phone interview Wednesday. So was he fired? Was it one of those mutual "parting of the ways" or what? NASCAR officials would only confirm that he's leaving. "I'll be honest with you, the importance of that part, to me, is nothing," Darby said when asked whether his leaving was a mutual decision. "What's more important is where I've been, what I've been involved in and what I hope to see grow in the future. At the end of the day, as I do leave the company, I will never leave the sport," Darby said. "It's in my heart and my veins and it will always be there. At the same time, I think that I'm leaving it in a better spot than what it was when I got here. That's all that matters to me. ... Everything is good. I'm still a stronghold and an ally for NASCAR and the sport of NASCAR. That is something that will never go away."(ESPN.com)(4-22-2015)
NASCAR's Jim France makes Forbes' richest list: Jim France, the head of the first family of NASCAR, is among the richest people in the world, according to an annual ranking released by Forbes magazine Monday. The magazine placed France's estimated net worth at $2.1 billion, making him the 894th richest billionaire in the world and the 318th wealthiest in the United States. His father, Bill France Sr., co-founded NASCAR. Jim France, 70, serves as chairman of International Speedway Corp, which owns Daytona International Speedway Corp. and a dozen other motorsports tracks around the country.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(3-3-2015)
NASCAR Names Kim Lopez Chief Starter for 57th Daytona 500: NASCAR announced that long-time official Kim Lopez will be the chief starter for Sunday's 57th running of the Daytona 500. She will become the first woman and first Hispanic to flag the Great American Race. Lopez, 33, is in her 11th season with NASCAR and has flagged races for the past seven years in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. She also flagged two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series races last year, but couldn't attend the Daytona 500 following the birth of her daughter just three weeks before the race. "I think this is awesome," said Lopez, a native of Bronx, New York. "You have little girls who can now look up and say 'I can do this someday, I can be this someday. If I put my mind to it and work hard, I can make it happen.'" The chief starter plays an essential role during the race, displaying the eight flags that tell the best drivers in the world to start, slow down, move over or stop. It's a role that Lopez won't take for granted on Sunday when the field maneuvers beneath her at speeds of more than 200 mph. Lopez also will have the honor of waving the checkered flag when the winner crosses the finish line and etches his or her name in NASCAR history. "Kim will serve as chief starter, because she's among the best in the world at what she does," said Chad Little, NASCAR managing director, Technical Inspection and Officiating. "She has pursued her dreams in uncharted territory and we're excited to see her dreams come true when she flags the Daytona 500."(NASCAR)(2-19-2015)
Helton named Vice Chairman of NASCAR; Dewar added to Board: NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France announced that Mike Helton has been named Vice Chairman of NASCAR and Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar has been added to the NASCAR Board of Directors, effective immediately. Helton has served as NASCAR President since 2000 and has been with the sanctioning body in various roles since 1994. In his new capacity, Helton will remain the senior NASCAR official at all national series racing events overseeing competition, work closely with France on long-term strategic planning and represent NASCAR in a wide-range of roles to further grow the sport. He remains a member of the board of directors. Dewar, who joined NASCAR in December of 2013 after a long career in the automotive industry and later as a consultant to a number of global companies, will assume additional day-to-day operational responsibilities in racing development, innovation and work with NASCAR partners and stakeholders.
The moves announced are part of a long-term strategic plan spearheaded by France to strengthen NASCAR's senior leadership team and broaden the responsibility for key areas of the business. In December of 2013, NASCAR elevated Steve Phelps to Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer and Steve O'Donnell to Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, giving both more direct oversight of key business areas. Phelps and O'Donnell also were relocated from NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters to the Charlotte region to oversee operations at NASCAR Plaza in uptown Charlotte and the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, respectively, and to strengthen alignment and communication with key industry stakeholders based in the Carolinas.(NASCAR)(2-9-2015)
NASCAR Announcements: Little Named to Inspection/Officiating Post; Sawyer to Lead Truck Series: NASCAR announced two leadership changes in its Competition department, including the selection of Chad Little to the new role of Managing Director, Technical Inspection/Officiating and Elton Sawyer to Managing Director, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Both assume their new responsibilities immediately.
"NASCAR recently has made significant investments in both the technical inspection and officiating areas of our sport," said Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer. "Those areas have become flagship examples of innovation, keeping NASCAR as a premier sport. Chad is an ideal candidate to provide oversight and lead us to further evolve in those critical areas. Similarly, we're fortunate to have a professional in Elton, who has substantial experience across the racing industry, to direct the popular NASCAR Camping World Truck Series."
In the new role, Little will provide high-level oversight in all areas of technical inspection and officiating for the Competition department, bringing to bear NASCAR's Research & Development. The updated officiating model includes the introduction of NASCAR's new Pit Road Technology, which debuts during Speedweeks in Daytona later this month. Little, who has spent more than 10 years at NASCAR, most recently served as Series Director in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and the Weekly/Touring Series. A former driver in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, Little brings a strong background in key areas of competition to this new role.
Sawyer joins NASCAR after serving as Director of Team Operations for Action Express Racing in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship governed by IMSA. Prior to that role, he held competition roles at Red Bull Racing and Evernham Motorsports. Sawyer also spent part of his career driving in NASCAR's national series. "We're pleased with the development of our competition team," O'Donnell said. "Chad and Elton will join the collaborative model already in place at the R&D Center. They will work very closely with Gene Stefanyshyn and Robin Pemberton and the rest of our series directors to help NASCAR capitalize upon its strong momentum heading into the 2015 season."(NASCAR)(2-2-2015)
NASCAR Announces Chad Seigler as Vice President, Business Development: NASCAR today announced the appointment of Chad Seigler as Vice President, Business Development reporting to NASCAR Senior Vice President & Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell. The appointment of Seigler follows his promotion to Vice President, Team Marketing Services in 2014 and the recent departure of Sean Downes, NASCAR's Managing Director, Business Development. Seigler will officially transition to his new role on Feb. 9. He will oversee revenue generation and lead a sales force comprised of representatives in New York, Charlotte, Daytona and Los Angeles. In addition to setting the business strategy, Seigler will play a critical role in securing the new NASCAR Sprint Cup entitlement sponsor, as well as other Official and Entitlement Partnerships. Seigler will continue to be based in the Charlotte office.
"Throughout his tenure with NASCAR, Chad has used his unique skill set to develop relationships and help teams and tracks attract and retain sponsors," O'Connell said. "His experience working with the industry and with sponsors across all three national series - combined with the years he spent working in-house at our premier series entitlement partner - makes him the perfect choice for this critical role." In his current role, Seigler is a resource to some of NASCAR's biggest decision makers, overseeing a team of professionals that prospects, presents and solidifies team, track and driver sponsorship programs.
Prior to joining NASCAR in 2007, Seigler was Manager of Industry Relations at Sprint NEXTEL, where he served as the day-to-day liaison to all NEXTEL Cup track venues and managed the series sponsor relationships with NASCAR drivers, teams and owners. He also spent five seasons with the Carolina Panthers as a Sports Marketing Executive, where he established and managed marketing partnerships with 15 regional and national brands for the NFL franchise. Seigler was named to Charlotte Business Journal's (CBJ) annual Forty Under 40 class for 2014. A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Seigler earned a bachelor's degree in communications from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. He serves on The National Sports Forum Steering Committee and is currently a board member for the North Carolina Motorsports Association.(NASCAR)(2-2-2015)
NASCAR Elevates Five to Vice President: NASCAR announced it has promoted five leaders in its Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices to Vice President, in recognition of their various achievements and leadership roles in key business units. The five promoted today include: David Higdon, Integrated Marketing Communications (Daytona Beach); Cory Posocco, NASCAR Events Group (Daytona Beach); Chad Seigler, Team Marketing Services (Charlotte); Colin Smith, NASCAR Digital Media (Charlotte); and Tshneka Tate, Legal (Charlotte). "We have developed a very strong and deep leadership team that has provided expertise and strong results during a period of unique challenge and opportunity for our industry," said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer. "Each of these individuals has demonstrated success in driving key initiatives across NASCAR and now become part of an overall leadership group that has us well positioned for the future."
David Higdon, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications - Since joining NASCAR in 2011, Higdon has overseen several divisions within IMC and led numerous marketing communications campaigns and public affairs initiatives for the company and industry. He has also played a lead role in crisis communications and provided senior communications counsel and leadership during the creation of IMSA, which unified sports car racing in America, and through its inaugural season in 2014.
Cory Posocco, Vice President, NASCAR Events Group - After beginning his career as Stafford Speedway's marketing / public relations director and special events coordinator, Posocco joined NASCAR in 2000. Since then he has steadily taken on greater roles in orchestrating special events, including NASCAR's annual Sprint Cup Series Awards show, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and countless other events at every level of NASCAR racing.
Chad Seigler, Vice President, Team Marketing Services - As a senior leader who helped create the Industry Services function at NASCAR, Seigler currently oversees Team Marketing Services which helps drive sponsorship sales for race teams at all three national series levels and ensures the deployment of broad NASCAR resources to support various team initiatives. He joined NASCAR in 2007 after two years at Nextel and five seasons with the Carolina Panthers.
Colin Smith, Vice President, NASCAR Digital Media - Joining NASCAR in 2012 after 14 years in various roles focused on college sports at RAYCOM, Smith has overseen the dramatic growth of NASCAR's digital platform including NASCAR.com and a suite of touted mobile applications. He plays a key role driving integration of the digital portfolio with NASCAR's broadcast partners, various NASCAR departments and the broader industry, as well as content distribution through various channels.
Tshneka Tate, Vice President, Senior Assistant General Counsel - A member of NASCAR's legal team since 2000, Tate has risen to become senior in-house counsel with oversight of all legal issues for NASCAR Media Group, NASCAR Productions and NASCAR Digital Media. Recently, she played a key role in new rights agreements with FOX, NBC, IMG and was lead counsel on the transition of digital rights from Turner Sports back to NASCAR in 2012. Before joining NASCAR, Tate worked in the Maryland Attorney General's office.(NASCAR)(12-12-20104)
Brian France to ride with the Boss: Imagine the boss of NASCAR riding in a motorcycle sidecar next to the legendary singer/songwriter known simply as "The Boss." That image isn't as far-fetched as you might think, after Thursday night's eighth annual Stand Up for Heroes fundraiser at New York City's Theater at Madison Square Garden. During an auction that accompanied a night of music and comedy to raise money in support of post-9/11 injured service members through the Bob Woodruff Foundation, NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France and wife Amy France partnered with another bidder to win a package of experiences with Bruce Springsteen. The Frances pledged $300,000 (a total matched by their bidding partner) to the Stand Up for Heroes Fund to acquire the Springsteen package, which includes a signed guitar and a one-hour guitar lesson from The Boss, a lasagna dinner prepared by Springsteen and a ride in the aforementioned sidecar with Springsteen driving. All told, the star-studded event raised more than $6 million, beating the record $5 million set last year.(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-8-2014)
Lesa France Kennedy to be Honored: On Saturday, August 23, 2014, the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) and its Los Angeles Regional Council, will host a private brunch at 11:45am/pt at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles - Women Making History - to honor the achievements of three notable women including Lesa France Kennedy, ISC CEO and NASCAR Board Member. The event will honor female philanthropists and activists who contribute to women's history while creating awareness to advance NWHM's mission and build a world-class museum in Washington, D.C. This year's honorees also include accomplished actress and philanthropist Sophia Bush, and producer, director, and Academy Award-winning writer Callie Khouri. "We are delighted to join with our LA Council to honor these three remarkable women," said Joan Wages, NWHM President and CEO. Past recipients include Maya Angelou, Fran Drescher, Annie Leibovitz, Jennifer Seibel Newsom, Dolores Huerta, Marissa Mayer and Rita Moreno. "I am humbled and honored to receive this special recognition," said Lesa France Kennedy, ISC CEO and NASCAR Board Member. "The National Women's History Museum is making great strides in educating our nation and I am excited to help preserve women's history for the next generation." NWHM's mission is to educate, inspire, empower, and shape the future by integrating women's distinctive history into the culture and history of the United States. For more information on the NWHM, please visit nwhm.org.(NASCAR)(8-23-2014)
Phelps and O'Donnell Take on Broad Leadership Roles in NASCAR: NASCAR announced it has elevated the responsibilities of Steve Phelps and Steve O'Donnell with both assuming leadership roles in NASCAR's Charlotte region offices effective immediately. The moves are designed to balance the company's senior leadership across NASCAR's various offices and accelerate the implementation of several key growth initiatives.
"In Steve Phelps and Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR has two seasoned leaders who are highly respected throughout the industry and have records of success in leading key functions within NASCAR," said NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. "Our strong teams in Charlotte and Concord are engaged in many efforts critical to the sport's future and we're confident having these two leaders at the helm on a day-to-day basis will accelerate projects and help us drive innovation for the future."
Phelps, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, now will lead the company's operations at NASCAR Plaza in Uptown Charlotte. Phelps, who will continue to report to NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar, retains all of his current responsibilities which include oversight of Brand Marketing, Integrated Marketing Communications, NASCAR Digital Media and NASCAR Properties. As part of this move, Phelps now also will assume oversight of Licensing, as well as Entertainment Marketing to bolster integration between the Los Angeles-based division and the other marketing and content disciplines operating primarily out of Charlotte.
O'Donnell assumes leadership of NASCAR's Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. Reporting to NASCAR President Mike Helton, O'Donnell has been named Executive Vice President & Chief Racing Development Officer and will add oversight of all operations in Concord, including Racing Development and Innovation, as well as Competition. O'Donnell maintains oversight of Racing Operations, Industry Services, Green Innovation, Touring / Weekly Series and Membership Services in addition to his new responsibilities.
Gene Stefanyshyn, who leads NASCAR's Racing Development and Innovation group, and Robin Pemberton, who heads the Competition department, both have been promoted to senior vice president and now will report to O'Donnell. Additionally, Tom Swindell who has played a key role on several recent Racing Operations initiatives has been assigned to Concord where he will work closely with O'Donnell on short- and long-term development projects. Stefanyshyn, who joined NASCAR in May 2013, has made an immediate impact on the company in leading the transformation and modernization of NASCAR's rules package development, testing and parts approval processes and set in motion a number of innovation projects for future racing development. Pemberton, a long-time crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has played a key role in the evolution of NASCAR's officiating model, qualifying procedures and championship format since his arrival at NASCAR in 2004.
"Gene and Robin both bring invaluable experience and unique expertise to our team in Concord, and we are enjoying some of the best competition ever in NASCAR due to their efforts," said O'Donnell. "We are constantly looking to improve and while we have very good momentum on an array of projects, we believe we can make an already strong product even better in a variety of ways for the industry and most importantly, for the fans."(NASCAR)(8-21-2014)
Brian France demonstrates leadership at Wharton: NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France spoke Wednesday in Philadelphia on leading a sports and entertainment industry during the 18th annual Wharton Leadership Conference. In front of an audience of 300 established and emerging leaders in a variety of disciplines and industries from private, public and non-for-profit organizations, France addressed the conference's underlying topic: Preparing for a Complex and Uncertain World. Sponsoring partner, Accenture, noted in an @AccentureStrat tweet that NASCAR is a family-run business, and France spoke about the challenge of balancing interests to ensure the best product with Peter Cappelli, Director of Center for Human Resources, Wharton and George W. Taylor Professor of Management.(NASCAR.com)(6-19-2014)
Former NASCAR exec nominated to Obama administration post: On Thursday, President Obama nominated former NASCAR executive Marcus Jadotte as assistant secretary for industry and analysis in the department of Commerce. Jadotte's position will require Senate approval. Jadotte served as the vice president of public affairs and multicultural development at NASCAR from 2011 to 2014. He led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs which focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR. He has held several other positions at NASCAR, including managing director of public affairs from 2006 to 2011 and senior manager of public relations from 2005 to 2006.(Charlotte Observer)(5-25-2014)
NASCAR Names Two New Hires as part of Growth Segment Marketing Team: NASCAR announced two new hires as part of the company's commitment to implementing strategic growth plans for several critical segments, including youth, millennial and multicultural. Peter Jung joins NASCAR as Senior Director of Growth Segment Marketing, reporting into Managing Director of Brand and Consumer Marketing Kenny Mitchell. Jung, most recently from MasterCard International, served as vice president of global consumer marketing, responsible for youth segment strategies and programs designed to drive a greater preference for the MasterCard brand. In this role, he oversaw the delivery of global consumer insights, innovation and marketing plans that supported youth segment priorities in the U.S. and several international markets.
Nicole Smith will serve as Director of Growth Segment Marketing at NASCAR, reporting directly to Jung. Smith joins NASCAR from her most recent post at the San Diego Padres, where she served as Director of Brand Development. At the Padres, Smith was responsible for leading all marketing and branding activities with a focus on growing sales and attendance among key demographics including youth and multicultural segments. Smith previously worked at Hewlett-Packard where she explored international business models and the impact of digital innovation, and The Walt Disney Company, where she focused on marketing and branding initiatives. Smith holds a B.A. from UCLA and an MBA from the University of Michigan.(NASCAR)(4-22-2014)
NASCAR Executive Marcus Jadotte Leaving Organization: NASCAR announced that Marcus Jadotte, vice president of public affairs and multicultural development, will be leaving the organization. Jadotte will serve as a consultant as NASCAR continues to evolve its diversity and multicultural development initiatives throughout the organization. Additionally, NASCAR will expand its existing relationship with Teneo Strategy, a strategic advisory firm which has worked with NASCAR since 2013, to support its public affairs activities. Among his accomplishments since joining NASCAR in March 2005, Jadotte led the development of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity (D4D) and NASCAR Pit Crew Development programs. These initiatives focus on developing the skills of promising female, Asian, Latino and African-American drivers and crew members in NASCAR. Jadotte has effectively overseen NASCAR's relationship with Rev Racing, which operates teams in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series for the NASCAR D4D program, resulting in an increase in minority participation and on-track success. NASCAR D4D will continue under the leadership of Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president, racing operations (to whom Jadotte reported). The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and annual NASCAR Diversity Awards also are among a number of diversity and inclusion programs started by Jadotte that will continue at NASCAR.(NASCAR)(4-17-2014)
NASCAR Taps Military Veteran As Director, Touring And Weekly Communications: NASCAR announced several personnel moves within its Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department, including the hiring of Tom Bryant, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran, to a new position of Director, Touring and Weekly Communications. Bryant is a recently retired Lt. Colonel, who completed his service after a decorated career in the Infantry and Special Operations. He most recently served as director of public relations for the U.S. Special Operations Command in Kabul, Afghanistan. Bryant, an Alabama native, officially begins March 3 and will be based out of the Daytona Beach, Fla., office. In addition, NASCAR announced the hiring of Adé Herbert as coordinator, Fan and Media Engagement Center. A graduate of Fordham University in New York who served in the U.S. Navy from 1993-97, Herbert participated in the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program and worked with Rev Racing for three years on its marketing and public relations initiatives. Herbert will be based in NASCAR's Charlotte, N.C., office.(NASCAR)(2-12-2014)
NASCAR Promotes Dr. Michael Lynch To Vice President: NASCAR announced the promotion of Dr. Michael Lynch to vice president, green innovation. The elevation of his role from managing director to VP reaffirms NASCAR's commitment to aggressively continue to grow the sport's green platform. As he has done over the past five years at NASCAR, Lynch will champion the adoption and implementation of sustainability practices across the sport. Lynch joined NASCAR in 2008, shortly after NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France declared the sport would be venturing into an endeavor to reduce its environmental impact. After joining the company, Lynch launched NASCAR Green, which has since grown into the largest sustainability program in all of sports and one of the most powerful and impactful green programs in the public and private sectors. "We knew that going green was not only the right thing to do, it was also good for business," said France. "In the process of creating programs and implementing changes to help make our sport more environmentally friendly, Mike has also helped generate commercial opportunities for the entire industry through partnerships with more than two dozen organizations interested in using NASCAR as a platform to uniquely validate their technologies."
Once coined 'the dirtiest sport in America,' NASCAR now boasts the three largest green programs in sports: renewable energy, recycling and clean air. As a result, 75% of NASCAR fans now say they 'believe the sport cares for the environment' and are 'aware of NASCAR Green,' according to Custom Environment-Related Tracker commissioned by NASCAR and conducted by Toluna in July 2013.
"NASCAR is a widely embraced and trusted form of community engagement to tens of millions of Americans," said Allen Hershkowitz, senior scientist, Natural Resources Defense Council. "NASCAR Green, through Dr. Lynch's leadership, offers the encouraging prospect that millions of sports fans and businesses will be positively influenced about responsible environmental action for years to come."
One of Lynch's key accomplishments was helping NASCAR develop and launch the world's most visible biofuels program through the introduction of a 15 percent ethanol blended fuel, made from American-grown corn. In February 2011, Sunoco Green E15 made its competition debut and subsequently reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent while increasing race car horsepower. NASCAR has since put more than five million tough competition miles on the racing fuel.
Since joining the company, NASCAR has recycled more than 20 million bottles and cans; 600,000 race tires; and enough oil to power the Empire State Building for one year. It has also planted enough trees (188,000) to completely offset carbon emissions for all NASCAR national series racing for the past five years of NASCAR Green, plus the next 18 years. Additionally, NASCAR's Daytona Beach, Fla., headquarters is LEED Gold certified, while NASCAR Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., has its LEED Silver certification. These bold initiatives also inspired change throughout the industry.
NASCAR has the largest renewable energy stadium project in the world - the solar farm at Pocono Raceway - that powers more than 250 homes in the region. The sport also features teams such as Roush Fenway Racing which recycle as much as 96 percent of each race car.
These enhancements are among many that now make the sport a more attractive partner to companies in the green and technology sectors. Since 2010, the number of green companies investing in NASCAR has grown at a 90 percent rate year-over-year. To date more than 150 green brands have entered the sport as sponsors of our industry with race teams and venues.
"The backbone of NASCAR Green has been the mass adoption and acceptance of sustainable practices by our green-conscious fans; the steadfast involvement of the industry; and the strong and unwavering support from a range of Official NASCAR Partners," said Lynch. "Thanks to these key stakeholders, we've been able to make substantive changes to our operations and business practices and expand the reach and scope of the platform."
Prior to joining NASCAR, Lynch served as an executive at Tyco International and Boston Consulting Group. He was a tenured professor at Purdue University, with his lab funded by the National Institutes of Health. Lynch graduated the MBA program at the Booth School of Business at University of Chicago with honors in Finance and Strategic Management. Mike also holds a Bachelor of Music degree in studio music and jazz from the University of Miami, where he played tenor saxophone and worked extensively as a professional musician. He has several patents in green technology and has been published extensively in peer-reviewed academic journals.(NASCAR)(12-17-2013)
NASCAR Names Brent Dewar Chief Operating Officer, Promotes Three Executives: NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France has announced the appointment of long-time auto industry executive Brent Dewar as Chief Operating Officer of NASCAR to strengthen its executive management team and accelerate a number of key growth initiatives. Dewar begins at NASCAR on January 6, 2014.
Concurrently, NASCAR announced that Steve Phelps, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, has been promoted to executive vice president, while Steve O'Donnell, senior vice president, racing operations, has also been promoted to executive vice president. The company's general counsel, Gary Crotty, has been elevated to chief legal officer/general counsel. Mike Helton continues as NASCAR President with continued oversight of all racing operations.
NASCAR's executive leadership restructuring reflects France's effort to make bold resourcing decisions that accelerate progress as the company focuses on announced changes in competition, research and development and on-going efforts to serve the current fan base and grow audience. The addition of Dewar, who has been consulting with NASCAR over the past year, will balance the responsibility across the executive leadership team and allow France to focus on setting the vision for NASCAR and driving key strategic growth initiatives and innovation across NASCAR.
"In Brent Dewar, we will add a seasoned leader with deep experience in the automotive sector, plus intimate knowledge of and passion for NASCAR as well as various other forms of motorsports," France said. "Brent brings creativity, drive, intelligence, operational acumen and a clear understanding of our assets and challenges to NASCAR. He's a leader who's naturally collaborative, an essential trait as we work more closely with the OEMs, teams, tracks, broadcast partners and others to grow the sport over the next decade.
"Steve Phelps and Steve O'Donnell have led critical evolutions in key areas of our business over the last several years with great success, and Gary Crotty continues to lead one of the best legal teams in all of sport," said France. "Their promotions are reflective of their achievements and the increased role they'll play in 2014 and the years ahead."
In recent years, Dewar has worked in senior executive consulting roles at GreenOrder, Courland International and most recently has been managing partner at Whitby Advisors, the company through which he has consulted NASCAR on its wide-ranging initiative to transform its Competition model in the areas of governance, rules, deterrence / penalties and officiating / inspection.
Dewar began his career at General Motors and achieved increasingly senior roles over nearly three decades at the global auto manufacturer. The breadth of his assignments at GM spans many areas of operations, global marketing, product development media, motorsports and sales operations for multiple brands. His final assignment with GM was Senior Vice President Global Chevrolet, responsible for leading GM's volume brand across four regions and 130 markets. "Working closely with NASCAR over the last year I've been very impressed by Brian's vision for NASCAR's future and the talented people he has put in place to achieve that vision," said Dewar. "I have great passion for racing and I look forward to adding my experience, ideas and relationships throughout racing to help the team drive NASCAR's growth and position it for a bright future."(NASCAR)(12-12-2013)
NASCAR Names Kenny Mitchell Managing Director Of Brand And Consumer Marketing: NASCAR announced today that Kenny Mitchell has been named Managing Director of Brand and Consumer Marketing, responsible for leading and implementing the company's overall brand direction and overseeing the strategic growth plans for several critical segments, including youth, millennial and multicultural. Mitchell will start on Monday, Dec. 2, and be based out of NASCAR's headquarters in Daytona Beach. Mitchell is the next step in the evolution of NASCAR's marketing function reporting to Vice President of Marketing Kim Brink. He will be responsible for developing and executing the annual NASCAR marketing plan and overseeing the company's media strategies and planning in close collaboration with other NASCAR departments. Additionally, he will work on advancing the Industry Action Plan strategies aimed at growing and diversifying the sport's fan base. Mitchell joins NASCAR from Dew Tour, a Division of Alli and The NBC Sports Group.(NASCAR)(11-20-2013)
Helton talks about three veteran drivers: NASCAR President Mike Helton paid tribute to veteran drivers #31-Jeff Burton, #47-Bobby Labonte and #14-Mark Martin, whose 2014 plans are unclear. "I don't know that they'll ever get their just rewards for what they've contributed," Helton said. "All in their own unique way, unique style, which is exactly what NASCAR is made of. Jeff has been one of the best statesmen this sport has ever had. He has a great pragmatic approach to what goes on. Bobby comes from a traditional racing family in Texas and brought that flare along with two championships (Cup and Nationwide). It was very unusual to have Mark in a situation where, if it were his fault, he didn't take responsibility for it. They contribute immensely to the sport."(Arizona Republic)(11-9-2013)
France helping families of military personnel: With a donation of $50,000, NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France and wife Amy France helped raise nearly $1 million in support of the families of military service men and women wounded in action. The Frances attended the "Stand Up For Heroes" benefit Wednesday at Madison Square Garden in New York City, an event presented by the Bob Woodruff Foundation and the New York Comedy Festival to raise money for post-9/11 service members and their families. "Brian and I were honored to make this donation to support our military servicemen and women and their families, who make incredible sacrifices each and every day to help protect our nation," Amy France said. Renowned musicians Bruce Springsteen and Roger Waters performed at the benefit, as did iconic comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Cosby.(NASCAR Wire Service)(11-9-2013)
France ends lawsuit against former wife: The nasty court battle between NASCAR CEO Brian and former wife Megan France has come to an end. For years, much of that legal fight was hidden to the public because a judge sealed the France file. Documents showed that Brian France was worth half a billion dollars with homes in Charlotte and Florida, in addition he was entitled to three condos in Los Angeles worth $4M, three condos in Florida worth $1.8 million, a condo in New York's Central Park valued at $10.6M; even the maid gets a $780,000 condo. Under the separation agreement, Megan France is left far from broke. She gets $32,000 a month in alimony, $100,000 a year for a nanny, a $3.2M home in Myers Park, and a $9M payment for keeping the children in the Charlotte area. On September 26th the two sides filed a dismissal agreement reaching a private settlement out of court.(in part from NBC Charlotte)(10-8-2013)
NASCAR announces some personnel moves: NASCAR announced several moves aimed at continuing to strengthen its touring & weekly series and broaden the level of experience within the competition department.
Former crew chief Chris Wright has been named the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Director, while Kip Childress transitions to become the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Director. In addition, veteran team manager and Daytona 500 winning crew chief Tony Glover has been appointed as the NASCAR Touring Series Technical Director. Les Westerfield, who has served as the interim NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Director during the first half of the season, will resume his role as NASCAR Touring Series Technical Coordinator and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Race Director.
As a crew chief, Glover has 24 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series wins, including Daytona 500 victories working with Sterling Marlin (twice) and Ernie Irvan. He also accumulated 45 Coors Light Pole Awards with 11 different drivers and guided two drivers to NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie of the year honors.
Childress has been the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Director since 2008. His tenure has been highlighted by strong competition, diversity and growth in the series. Previously, he served as an official in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and is a third-generation NASCAR official with more than 20 years of experience in the sport.
Wright has been a crew chief, shop foreman and consultant for teams in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, NASCAR K&N Pro Series and NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Mobil 1, as well as Late Model teams. The University of South Carolina graduate spent more than five years apiece with Robert Yates Racing and Team Rensi Motorsports.(NASCAR)(7-31-2013)
Court opens France's divorce documents: NASCAR chief executive Brian France said in court documents that his former wife spent a "staggering" amount of his fortune on her family and friends. Megan France said her former husband spent little time with their two children and became verbally abusive when he didn't get his way. Voluminous court documents unsealed Wednesday revealed new details about the couple's bitter second divorce, years after the contentious 2008 breakup. France's lawyers had fought for years to keep the records confidential. France married the Charlotte woman twice and they divorced twice. Their first marriage lasted from 2001 to 2004. They married again in 2005 and the second divorce was finalized in 2008. Several news organizations fought to unseal the documents, arguing those were public records, and a North Carolina appeals court last year agreed. So on Wednesday, 3,000 pages of documents were released, including dozens of court motions, depositions and emails. According to statements in open court, the couple's 2008 separation agreement included paying Megan France $9 million, alimony of $32,000 a month for 10 years and $10,000 a month in child support. The unsealed records showed Brian France is wealthy. A 2005 financial statement included in the court documents show he had $564 million in total assets - including stock and real estate - and that he was likely to inherit "substantial wealth from his parents," which could exceed $1 billion.(Associated Press)(5-9-2013)
NASCAR selects Stefanyshyn to lead Innovation and Racing Development: NASCAR announced that Eugene (Gene) Stefanyshyn has been named Vice President, Innovation and Racing Development to drive continual improvements in racing performance. He will be based at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. In this role, Stefanyshyn will lead and shape NASCAR's future approach to Competition by utilizing and developing innovations that advance the racing product and fan experience. Additionally, he will work in close collaboration with other NASCAR departments and industry stakeholders to develop a leading edge culture for NASCAR surrounding engineering and technology. Stefanyshyn has been a leader at General Motors working in various capacities for more than 30 years, most recently serving as the company's Executive Director, Global Product Development Quality, where he managed upwards of 250 employees across four global regions. Through his three-decade tenure at GM, Stefanyshyn has held increasingly senior roles spanning all facets of vehicle design and development, global project management, engineering strategy, finance, manufacturing and quality control.(NASCAR)(4-26-2013)
Judge orders unsealing of France's documents: The N.C. Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a Mecklenburg judge's order unsealing the secret documents in NASCAR Chairman Brian France's legal battle with his former wife. The appeals court ruling is the latest twist in Brian and Megan France's efforts to keep secret the details of their legal wrangling and the contents of their separation agreement. Brian France has sought to scrap the agreement with his ex-wife that calls for him to pay the mother of his two children millions of dollars as well as more than $40,000 a month in alimony and child support. The NASCAR chairman claims Megan France breached their confidential separation agreement. Brian and Megan France also had sought to have the court hearings closed to the public. The appeals court ruling Monday upholds Mecklenburg District Judge Jena Culler's ruling in August 2011 unsealing the documents in the Frances' litigation. Culler also overturned an order by a former judge sealing the documents in 2008.(in part from the Charlotte Observer)(12-31-2012)
NASCAR promotes key executives: NASCAR announced the promotions of four senior executives across the company. Ed Bennett has been promoted to senior vice president, with Jim Cassidy, Zane Stoddard and Kim Brink promoted to vice president. Bennett also retains his roles of NASCAR chief administrative officer and president/chief executive officer of GRAND-AM Road Racing. Cassidy, Stoddard and Brink lead key areas of racing operations, entertainment marketing and NASCAR's brand marketing initiatives with integral roles in the implementation of NASCAR's Five-Year Industry Action Plan (IAP).
Bennett continues to head up corporate administration, and this year, became both the president and chief executive officer of GRAND-AM - which recently completed its merger with the ALMS, in addition to assuming operation of Road Atlanta and Sebring International Raceway.
Cassidy, formerly managing director of NASCAR Racing Operations, joined NASCAR in 2000. In addition to overseeing several core areas of Racing Operations, he is playing a substantial role in the Product Relevance plank of the IAP.
Stoddard, formerly managing director of entertainment marketing, joined NASCAR in 2010. He currently oversees NASCAR's Los Angeles office and its entertainment marketing division, and is responsible for leading the Youth plank of the IAP and company content strategy.
Brink, formerly managing director, joined NASCAR in 2011. In addition to her oversight of brand, consumer and series marketing, she is leading the Gen Y and Multicultural planks of the IAP.(NASCAR)(12-20-2012)
NASCAR makes personnel changes: In an effort to strengthen and grow its racing series for 2013 and beyond, NASCAR announced several revisions to its Competition personnel structure. The following changes will take effect in 2013:
• Joe Balash, who has served as the NASCAR Nationwide Series director since 2004, will be assuming a new role as International Competition Liaison. This position will be the NASCAR point of contact for competition-related matters relative to the NASCAR Toyota (Mexico) Series, the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series, the Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series and other international competitions and series in which NASCAR may be involved and/or considering involvement. Balash now will report to Richard Buck, who has been promoted to managing director, Competition GRAND-AM and managing director, Touring Series NASCAR.
• Wayne Auton, who has served as the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director since 1995, will assume the role of NASCAR Nationwide Series director. Auton will continue to report to John Darby, managing director, competition and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series director.
• Chad Little, currently NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour series director and director of Racing Development, Mexico, will serve in the role of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series director. Little also will report to Darby.
Brad Moran, currently NASCAR Canadian Tire Series director, will serve in the role of director of Touring Series, NASCAR, reporting to Buck.
With the increasing integration between NASCAR, GRAND-AM, American Le Mans Series (ALMS) and Euro Racecar, NASCAR Touring Series, these moves are designed to strengthen all of the sport's racing series, both at the national and international levels.(NASCAR)(12-18-2012)
NASCAR announces personnel moves in Industry Services: NASCAR announced two personnel moves within its Industry Services department designed to bolster its support of industry partners. Jeff Wohlschlaeger has been hired as managing director of event services and Chad Seigler has been promoted to managing director of team services. Wohlschlaeger joins NASCAR from the Chicago Bulls, where for the past 18 years he served as senior director of game operations. In the newly developed role, Wohlschlaeger will work closely with track partners to design and implement a world-class and unmatched fan experience at all NASCAR events. He will manage the overall development of NASCAR resources for tracks and serve as a resource for track promoters in the development, execution and measurement of fan engagement initiatives. Seigler will continue working closely with race teams within each of NASCAR's national touring series, providing marketing tools, resources and counsel. With his oversight, his team works in concert with NASCAR Market and Media Research in order to provide consultation and research tailored for specific business objectives.(NASCAR)(10-23-2012)
France still fighting to keep divorce records secret: The head of the closely held company that stages NASCAR races is fighting to keep the public out of hearings and documents related to a battle with his ex-wife over their high-dollar divorce settlement. Tuesday's oral arguments before the state Court of Appeals mark the second time the court has heard NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France's reasons to close court proceedings generally open to the public. France's search for secrecy involves a dispute over whether the woman he married and divorced twice, Megan France, violated confidentiality and other provisions of the agreement they reached before divorcing in 2008. Brian France's attorney had said in open court that the separation agreement included paying his ex-wife $9 million, alimony of $32,000 a month for 10 years, plus $10,000 a month in child support, according to a court filing by Megan France's lawyers. But five months after the divorce was final, Brian France returned to court to try enforcing their agreement's confidentiality provisions by asking a judge to decide "he was entitled to a sealed court file not only in that matter but in all future civil actions related to the agreement," according to attorneys for The Charlotte Observer and WCNC-TV, which challenged the secrecy. "The legal implications for the citizens of our state are staggering should Mr. France's position be adopted. Brian France's attorneys argue that letting the public peek into his divorce case imperils his "constitutionally-protected right to a contract, right to a remedy in the trial court for an injury done to him, and right to privacy.(Associated Press/USA Today)(9-26-2012)
NASCAR cuts Charlotte TV staff: NASCAR Productions laid off about 15 percent of its Charlotte-based workforce this week in a restructuring of the unit that produces video for the motorsports giant. In all, 32 of 180 jobs were eliminated. Some of those employees will remain into the fall as the final leg of the NASCAR Sprint Cup races are run. Many of those laid off had more than a decade of experience in NASCAR and motorsports, including veteran project manager Chrissy Pellegrino and former WCNC (Channel 36) sports director Chuck Howard. Steve Herbst, who took over the unit in June during an earlier restructuring that saw the departure of chief operating officer Jay Abraham, said Tuesday the cutbacks were strategic moves reflecting the changing industry. After evaluating NASCAR Productions operations, executives decided to drop independent video production work on outside accounts not related to motorsports. It had been handling projects like Notre Dame hockey, University of Virginia football and music videos. Herbst said creating a NASCAR cable channel similar to the NFL's is still being considered for the Charlotte broadcast complex. "We've done quite a bit of thinking about it, but no decision has been made yet," he said.(Charlotte Observer)(9-12-2012)
NASCAR makes new hires in communications: As NASCAR continues to build its Integrated Marketing Communications team in key areas, the sanctioning body announced Sabrina Macias has been named director, brand and consumer marketing communications; Chris Tropeano will join as senior manager, business communications; and Jon Schwartz, previously NASCAR's director of business communications, has been promoted to senior director, business and brand communications, with day-to-day oversight responsibility for several key business units. Macias joins NASCAR from Edelman Worldwide, where as a vice president overseeing 23 staffers in offices across the country. Tropeano joins NASCAR after serving as associate director, communications at Sports Illustrated.(NASCAR)(7-3-2012)
NASCAR selects developer of digital platform and announce new staff: NASCAR announced that SapientNitro, part of Sapient, has been selected to design and build its new digital platform, including NASCAR.com. The new platform will result in an integrated digital experience for NASCAR's fans through critical channels, including: website, mobile and tablet. Earlier this year, NASCAR announced that it will assume business and editorial control of its interactive, digital and social media rights, including technical operations and infrastructure of NASCAR.com and all other NASCAR digital platforms, starting in January 2013. In addition to its work with NASCAR, SapientNitro, a leading marketing and technology firm, is currently designing digital experiences for a host of other sports and entertainment clients including WWE, Ladbrokes and LeBron James.(NASCAR)(6-30-2012)
AND: To further bolster its staff in preparation for the launch of the new NASCAR.com digital platform in January of 2013, NASCAR Digital Media announced five additional key hires.
The new personnel added to NASCAR Digital Media are David Murnick, managing director, ad services; Philippe Dore, senior director, digital services; Tim Clark, director, optimization; David Garlinski, director, mobile products; and Stu Hothem, director, content. In his new role, Murnick will be responsible for managing the advertising business of NASCAR's digital platforms as managing director, ad services. Murnick comes to NASCAR from AdKeeper where he was senior vice president, client services and ad operations.
Dore comes to NASCAR from the ATP World Tour, where he served as senior director and general manager of digital media for the past seven years. Dore will be responsible for working closely with NASCAR industry constituents including tracks, teams and drivers to help integrate the industry into the NASCAR digital platform.
Clark will be charged with optimizing the new NASCAR.com for all internal marketing and branding initiatives, external partnerships, licensing opportunities and industry services, including ticket sales.
Garlinski joins NASCAR from partner ESPN Digital Media, where he most recently served as associate product manager, mobile. He will be managing the mobile product launches for NASCAR, including the 2013 smartphone and tablet apps for iOS and Android devices, and the new optimized mobile web experience for NASCAR.com.
Hothem transitions to NASCAR Digital Media after serving as NASCAR's Integrated Marketing Communications director, Sport Services.(NASCAR)(6-30-2012)
NASCAR announces changes to communications team: As part of its commitment to building a best-in-class Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) team, NASCAR announced a number of key hires and changes in the areas of competition, stakeholder and content communications.
Sean Doherty joins NASCAR as its director, digital & content communications from partner Sprint. Doherty now will oversee the IMC content communications division, previously known as sport services, and play a key role in the development and operation of NASCAR's new Fan and Media Engagement Center (FMEC). IMC's current director of sport services, Stu Hothem, has accepted a position as director, content within the newly formed NASCAR Digital Media. Hothem will work with IMC during a transition period as NASCAR Digital Media prepares to launch a new NASCAR.com on January 1, 2013.
Tracey Judd has been named director, racing operations communications; she will remain within the competition unit of Integrated Marketing Communications overseen by Senior Director, Competition Communications Kerry Tharp.
IMC Senior Manager, Competition Communications Amanda Ellis, who has served as primary media liaison for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, will assume Judd's previous role with the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Katey Hawbaker will join NASCAR in late July as manager, competition communications. Hawbaker will serve as the primary media liaison for the truck series, where she currently works for Red Horse Racing and previously at Kevin Harvick Inc.
Stephanie Ackerman joins NASCAR as manager, stakeholder communications from her previous position as associate manager, brand public relations and communications for H.J. Heinz.
Ashley Mitchell, a recent graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, joins NASCAR as coordinator, content communications.
John Farrell, who has worked for NASCAR in licensing and publishing for five years, shifts to IMC content communications.(NASCAR)(6-29-2012)
NASCAR appoints leadership for Broadcasting and Productions: NASCAR announced a number of strategic moves designed to further strengthen its broadcasting and production units. Steve Herbst, who has overseen NASCAR's broadcasting and global media rights since May 2011, has been selected to lead what was formerly known as NASCAR Media Group Productions as vice president, broadcasting and production. This unit is being rebranded as NASCAR Productions and will join NASCAR Broadcasting, NASCAR Digital Media and NASCAR Entertainment in being more closely aligned with the company's other fan engagement and development departments.
Steve Stum has been promoted to vice president of operations and technical production, Tally Hair has been named managing director of production and programming and Seth Bacon has been elevated to senior director of broadcasting. NASCAR Vice President of Digital Media Marc Jenkins will continue to lead NASCAR Digital Media. Zane Stoddard, managing director in NASCAR's Los Angeles office, will continue to lead NASCAR Entertainment. Jay Abraham, who has held various leadership roles at NMG, is no longer with NASCAR.
In addition to the realignment of these business units and the leadership appointments, NASCAR also announced a streamlined business focus for NASCAR Productions. Going forward, NASCAR Productions will focus solely on delivering content and executing projects that support NASCAR's broader mission of serving current NASCAR fans and growing new audiences.(NASCAR)(6-6-2012)
Appeals court rules for Brian France in recording case: A [Florida] state appeals court Friday ruled in favor of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in a lawsuit alleging that his ex-wife illegally recorded telephone calls between them. The Daytona Beach-based 5th District Court of Appeal overturned a circuit judge's decision to dismiss the case. The case centers on a Florida law that bars the recording of calls without the consent of both parties. But the circuit judge dismissed the case because France's ex-wife, Megan, recorded the calls while she was in North Carolina, which does not have a similar law barring secret recordings. A three-judge panel of the appeals court said it was "troubled by the ramifications of holding that a non-resident defendant subjects himself or herself to Florida's jurisdiction solely by surreptitiously recording a telephone call with an individual in Florida." But it said it was siding with Brian France based on a 2003 Florida Supreme Court decision.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(6-4-2012)
Jim Hunter inducted in South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame: He was loyal and compassionate and tough, a teacher and counselor and promoter, one of the rare who influenced so many in a positive way. Those words describe the late Jim Hunter, who, yes, in his younger days, walked on the wild side, too. But more than nouns or adjectives or verbs can say, he was Darlington. Yes, that Darlington, the race track that annually stages one of the state's oldest and most captivating sports spectacles. The timing is perfect: Another Southern 500, this one the first sponsored by Bojangles', unfolded Saturday night at Darlington - Jim Hunter's Darlington - and 48 hours later he will be among the inductees into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame in ceremonies [Monday night]. Hunter's career included stops at Columbia and Atlanta newspapers, public relations director for Darlington and Talladega speedway and in NASCAR administration before the International Speedway Corporation sent him to oversee the company's new purchase, Darlington Raceway. Eventually, the racing powers needed Hunter more at headquarters than at one race track and brought him to Daytona Beach as vice-president for communications. Essentially, he became the face of NASCAR.(The State)(5-15-2012)
NASCAR announces hires for development of digital platform: With the launch of the new NASCAR.COM digital experience scheduled for Jan. 1, 2013, NASCAR Digital Media announced today a key hire with the addition of Colin Smith. Formerly Raycom Sports' vice president, new media and distribution, Smith was named managing director, digital platform for the sanctioning body's digital properties. Smith, a veteran digital media executive, will report to Marc Jenkins, vice president of NASCAR Digital Media. Smith will be responsible for the business of NASCAR's digital platform which includes NASCAR.COM as well as the tablet and mobile experience. Under Smith's purview will be e-commerce, subscription products, site optimization and content development. NASCAR Digital Media also announced that John Martin, who joined NASCAR Media Group in 2007 from Turner and has worked with NASCAR's media division in some capacity since 2000, will lead the operations group of the NASCAR Digital Platform as managing director of digital operations. Earlier this year NASCAR and Turner Sports announced that the sanctioning body will manage business and editorial operations for its digital platforms beginning in 2013. Under this new partnership, NASCAR will assume operational control in 2013 of all of its interactive, digital and social media rights including technical operations and infrastructure of all NASCAR digital platforms.(NASCAR)(5-1-2012)
Bill France Jr. Inducted Broadcasting Hall of Fame: Bill France Jr., who served as head of NASCAR from 1972 to 2003, was be inducted into the Sport Video Group's Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame Tuesday night in New York City. In addition to Bill Jr., this year's class includes legendary broadcaster Jack Buck; former NBC executive Dick Ebersol; NEP Supershooter's Deb Honkus and George Hoover; IMG founder Mark McCormack; NFL Films great Steve Sabol; and visionary audio mixer Ron Scalise, a lynchpin at ESPN. Elected by a group of 80 past and present industry leaders, the 2011 class will be the fifth in SVG's Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame and will join such luminaries as Roone Arledge, John Madden, Don Ohlmeyer, Pete Rozelle, Vin Scully, Charlie Steinberg, George Wensel, and more than 30 other industry legends. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France accepted the Sport Video Group's Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame induction on behalf of his father Bill France Jr.(12-14-2011)
France named one of most influential people in sports business: Sports Business Journal has named its annual list of 50 most influential persons in sports business and the only representative from motorsports is NASCAR CEO Brian France. He is 17th on the list, moving up from 18th last year. According to Sports Business Journal, "No sport was punished more by the recent recession than NASCAR. Attendance, TV numbers and sponsorship declined. But France is charting the way forward with a five-year plan designed to build the sport's young and multicultural fan base, improve its digital and social media offerings, raise its driver profiles and enhance the race-day experience."
#1 is Steve Burke, President & CEO of NBCUniversal Holdings followed by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig then ESPN's George Bodenheimer and John Skipper.(Sports Business Daily)(12-13-2011)
NASCAR Names Kim Brink Managing Director, Brand And Consumer Marketing: NASCAR announced that Kim Brink has been named managing director, brand and consumer marketing. Brink begins her duties with NASCAR today, reporting to Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer. Brink joins NASCAR from General Motors Corporation, where she helped lead the transformation of a pair of iconic global brands - Chevrolet and Cadillac. As head of the NASCAR brand and consumer marketing group, Brink will focus her efforts on helping to achieve upon the vision of the company's five-year strategic business plan, which was developed and introduced following a NASCAR-commissioned year-long study by Taylor. The plan includes five core components: growing the youth and Hispanic fan base; reaching the next-generation of NASCAR fans; developing a wide-reaching digital and social media strategy; building driver star power; and improving the at-track experience for fans.(NASCAR)(11-14-2011)
Brian France drops request to seal documents in suit against ex-wife: NASCAR Chairman Brian France has withdrawn his request to have all the documents sealed in a federal lawsuit against his ex-wife accusing her of taping his telephone calls to extort money from him. France did not give a reason in his one-page notice to withdraw his request to keep the documents secret. The notice came about a week after Megan France responded to her ex-husband's request to seal the documents. "Megan P. France does not agree that such a draconian step is necessary to protect the legitimate privacy concerns of her, her children and her ex-husband," Megan France's attorneys said in their response to the motion to seal. Megan France's attorneys, however, said their client agrees that documents referring to the Frances' separation agreement should be placed under seal. That agreement involves the Frances' property settlement as well as the terms of child support, child custody and alimony. "Ms. France reserves the right to move to seal other pleadings in this case, on a pleading-by-pleading basis, if she determines that such a step is necessary to protect her privacy or that of her children," her attorneys wrote. The Charlotte Observer has filed a motion opposed to sealing of the documents in the federal lawsuit.(full story at Charlotte Observer)(7-26-2011)
NASCAR Names Sean Downes Managing Director, Business Development: NASCAR announced that Sean Downes has been named managing director, business development. Downes is based in the New York office, where he will report to Jim O'Connell, NASCAR chief sales officer. From 2005 to 2009, Downes was NASCAR director of partnership marketing and was responsible for managing a number of official partners including Coca-Cola, Mars and P&G among others. Downes rejoins NASCAR after spending two years as vice president, corporate hospitality sales for Madison Square Garden, where he secured $200 million in new business and renewals during his tenure. Prior to joining NASCAR in 2005, Downes was vice president at Strategic Sports Group and was responsible for securing new business for the agency and for managing a portfolio of brands invested in multiple sports properties including NASCAR, NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL.(NASCAR)(7-19-2011)
France asks federal court to seal divorce papers: NASCAR chairman Brian France is again trying to keep secret new details about his messy divorce - this time in federal court where he has accused his former wife of tape recording telephone conversations to extort money from him. France has asked a federal judge to seal documents surrounding those telephone conversations, which involved property distribution, custody of their two children and what's described in one court document as "sensitive personal and financial matters." Although virtually all divorce filings and related documents are public record under N.C. law, France argues that disclosure of the information could harm him both personally and professionally. "If this Court were to allow the record to remain unsealed, large portions of those illegally recorded conversations and information would be filed on the record for the entire world to see," France's attorneys wrote in a request to seal filings in the case. "This case is a private matter, involving private conversations about private issues....The only interest in allowing the public access to the judicial records and documents in this action is the promotion of a divorce scandal involving a highly regarded public figure." Attorneys for the Observer and news partner WCNC-TV on Wednesday filed motions and memoranda opposing the sealing of the documents. They urged the federal judge to reject "Mr. France's overbroad and unconstitutional attempt to prospectively seal virtually the entire court file. Mr. France is entitled to no better treatment - and deserves no worse - than any other litigant," the attorneys said. "If any legitimately sensitive information arises over the course of this litigation, this Court has the power to place a particular document containing such information under seal or redact it." The Observer's attorneys said France "trivializes" the public's interest in obtaining access to the records in the case. The attorneys for the newspaper and television station said their clients' "primary interest is ensuring that civil justice is applied fairly and evenly, irrespective of the wealth and power of the parties involved.(full story at the Charlotte Observer)(7-7-2011)
NASCAR Names David Higdon as Managing Director: NASCAR announced that David Higdon has been named managing director within the sanctioning body's newly formed Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) department. Higdon will begin his duties with NASCAR on June 20, 2011. Higdon joins NASCAR from the LPGA Tour where since 2009 he has overseen corporate communications; stakeholder and media relations; player promotion; TV and digital media content; and served on the World Golf Hall of Fame Advisory Board. Prior to his stint at the LPGA Tour, Higdon worked in open-wheel racing, professional tennis and basketball, and served in writing and editing roles for The New York Times, ESPN The Magazine and other media outlets. At NASCAR, Higdon will play a key leadership role in the development of communications strategy and in overseeing and integrating communications initiatives across the company, with particular emphasis on competition. He also will be responsible for crisis communications, public affairs initiatives and providing on-going counsel to executive leadership across NASCAR's various departments.(NASCAR)(6-10-2011)
Brian France Among First Two Sports Figures To Receive Intrepid Salute Award: Aboard the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum in New York City tonight, NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France will accept a 2011 Intrepid Salute Award in recognition of his support of the military, business achievements and important philanthropic activities. France will join George Bodenheimer, president ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports in being the first two sports personalities to be bestowed with the honor since the award was founded in 1992. "It is an honor to accept this award on behalf of NASCAR, our drivers, teams and tracks who have all been ardent supporters of active and retired members of our nation's Armed Forces since our sport's inception," France said. "Accepting the award will be especially humbling knowing that U.S. military servicemen and women from around the world tune in to NASCAR races each week as a respite from their ongoing service to our country. NASCAR has a long history of supporting active troops and veterans and we remain particularly proud to be a lead partner in recruiting young people into the Armed Forces." The award will be presented as part of the museum's annual "Fleet Week" activities, which include a visit from Navy and Coast Guard ships joining the legendary USS Intrepid on the Hudson River.(NASCAR)(5-27-2011)
NASCAR Adds Key Talent to Executive Team, Aligns Organization To Drive Industry Growth: To drive strategic priorities and overall industry growth, NASCAR announced key additions to its executive leadership team and several organizational changes designed to better position the sanctioning body for long-term growth and to meet the immediate needs of key industry partners. The changes are effective immediately.
Sports television veteran Steve Herbst has joined NASCAR Media Group (NMG) as vice president of broadcasting and global media strategy and will report to NMG President Paul Brooks. Herbst, who will be based in NASCAR's New York City office, most recently held the position of executive vice president and general manger of CBS College Sports Network from 2008-2010. While there, he was responsible for managing all aspects of the 24-hour network. Under his leadership, the network's subscriber base grew by 75 percent and advertising sales increased by 56 percent. Prior to his stint at CBS-CSN, Herbst spent 19 years with the National Basketball Association (NBA) in a number of broadcasting positions, including SVP of Broadcast and General Manager of NBA TV. He was responsible for managing the league's relationships with ABC, ESPN and TNT; served as head of production, programming, marketing and scheduling for NBA TV after launching the network in 1999; and played a key leadership role in the NBA.com news operation, NBA's video-on-demand productions and managed the league's production and programming relationship with Sirius Satellite Radio.
NASCAR INNOVATION GROUP
In addition to his continued role as president of NASCAR Media Group, Paul Brooks will lead a newly-created NASCAR Innovation Group that is charged with driving innovation and integration of new technologies within NASCAR and across the industry through the development of new partnerships, alliances and other forward-thinking initiatives.
SPONSORSHIP, LICENSING, AUTO AFTERMARKET AND NEW BUSINESS
Recently-promoted Chief Sales Officer Jim O'Connell, will now lead a consolidated intellectual property group that will manage all assets carrying the NASCAR trademark. This will include: Partnership Marketing, Auto Aftermarket, Licensing, and all new business efforts, including Official Partnerships with NASCAR. Norris Scott, who oversees NASCAR's official partner relationships, has been promoted to vice president, partnership marketing. Scott, along with Blake Davidson (Licensing) and Todd Armstrong (Auto Aftermarket), will all now report to O'Connell. NASCAR has opened a search for additional senior-level sales talent to bolster the efforts of the consolidated operation. O'Connell will continue to report to NASCAR Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps.
Marc Jenkins has been promoted to vice president and tabbed to lead the company's digital media initiatives. Digital Media has been realigned under Marketing with Jenkins reporting directly to Phelps. Jenkins will continue to play a key role in the management of partnerships and development of digital initiatives for NASCAR.
INTEGRATED MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS
As previously announced, NASCAR's Integrated Marketing Communications department is being led by new Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes. Former Bank of America Vice President of Global Media Relations Jon Schwartz has joined the IMC team as director of business communications. Schwartz, who has extensive experience in sports sponsorship marketing communications from stops at Bank of America, MasterCard and US Tobacco, will lead all communications efforts in support of O'Connell's intellectual property group.
NASCAR Vice President of Strategic Development Eric Nyquist, who leads the strategic planning discipline for the company, will continue to oversee entertainment initiatives led by Zane Stoddard in NASCAR's Los Angeles office and NASCAR's Green platform which is directed by Michael Lynch.
In addition to the promotions of Scott and Jenkins to the vice president level, NASCAR has elevated three other key executives who also will become officers in the company. Jill Gregory, who leads critical industry support efforts with numerous NASCAR stakeholders, has been named vice president, industry services and will continue to report to Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR senior vice president of racing operations. George Silbermann, who has played a central role in NASCAR's efforts to strengthen its development series, has been elevated to vice president, regional and touring series and will also continue reporting to O'Donnell. Marcus Jadotte has been promoted to vice president, public affairs and multicultural development. Jadotte, who has played a key role in legislative issues and led NASCAR's Drive For Diversity program and other multicultural initiatives, will now report to NASCAR Senior Vice President and General Counsel Gary Crotty on public affairs initiatives and O'Donnell on multicultural programs.
STATEMENT - NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France
"We are committed to driving the sport forward by strengthening each aspect of the fan experience and to driving the sport forward in areas that serve the needs of our partners and stakeholders. We're confident the changes we have made to our internal structure and the incredible talent we've added in these key strategic areas will best position NASCAR to drive industry growth now and in the future." (NASCAR)(4-29-2011)
France sues ex-wife, alleges extortion attempt: NASCAR chairman Brian France has sued his former wife, accusing her of tape recording telephone conversations to extort money from him. In a lawsuit filed Friday, Brian France claims his ex-wife, Megan France, has recorded multiple telephone conversations with him without his consent. He is asking a federal judge to issue an injunction barring Megan France from engaging in additional "intercepts of wire communications" between the two and distributing the contents of the recordings. Brian France alleges his ex-wife has offered not to disclose the recordings - keeping them private - if he pays her "substantial sums of money." Megan France's lawyers could not be reached for comment.(Charlotte Observer)(4-16-2011)
Court rules Brian France's divorce dispute will be public: NASCAR Chairman Brian France's messy divorce and legal dispute with his ex-wife should play out in open court, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday. Brian and Megan France had sought to keep their court proceedings secret, but the appeals court upheld a Charlotte judge's order refusing to close their court hearings. The appeals court ruled Brian France had failed to show that his interest in keeping the litigation secret outweighed the public's right to open court proceedings. The court, however, allowed previously filed documents in the case to remain sealed, leaving it to the Charlotte judge who handles the Frances' trial to decide which, if any, documents should be made public. The judge will also have to decide whether courtroom testimony related to sealed documents should be closed. Among the sealed documents is a confidential agreement between Brian and Megan France concerning their separation, property settlement, child support and custody and alimony. Brian France's lawyer had said the agreement involved "intensely private" matters involving their children and finances. Tuesday's ruling can be appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court. If it isn't, the case will probably go back to Mecklenburg District Court for trial. See full article at the Charlotte Observer)(2-3-2011)
NASCAR names members of Communications team: NASCAR announced two key additions to the Integrated Marketing Communications team. Kristi King, who has 17 years of public relations and marketing experience in NASCAR racing, has been named director of communications, competition and joins the sanctioning body's Integrated Marketing Communications team. Steve Pegram brings more than 15 years of experience working with high-profile brands, sports and entertainment properties across multiple marketing and promotional platforms and has been appointed director of stakeholder communications. Most recently, he has worked with Motorsports Management International, the leading driver management firm, and Red Bull Energy Drink, where he oversaw motorsports communications and played an instrumental role in launching the start-up Red Bull Racing NASCAR team. King, who will be based at the NASCAR Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C., has worked at Talladega Superspeedway for the past 6˝ years. She was the track's director of public relations from 2004-08 before being promoted to senior director of communications and consumer marketing in 2008. NASCAR veteran Jennifer Powell has been promoted to senior manager, stakeholder communications and will report to Pegram as they collaborate on establishing the department.(NASCAR)(1-27-2010)
NASCAR promotes Jim O'Connell: As its corporate marketing division continues to set new standards for creativity and client service in a sport with the most active sponsorship, NASCAR announced that Vice President Jim O'Connell has been promoted to Chief Sales Officer. The promotion is effective immediately. Despite the prolonged recessionary environment, in 2010, O'Connell's team renewed 75% of its partner agreements and increased NASCAR official partner revenue 10 percent. Two new partner categories were created: cause-related marketing with DRIVE4COPD becoming the official healthcare initiative of NASCAR, and "Green," highlighted by a landmark sponsorship agreement with American Ethanol led by Growth Energy, the largest NASCAR sponsorship since Sprint entered the sport in 2004. O'Connell joined NASCAR in 2006 as Vice President of Corporate Marketing, overseeing the division of NASCAR that attracts and maintains corporate interest in the sport. His new title will be Vice President and Chief Sales Officer.With the largest events drawing the most loyal, sponsor-conscious fans in sports, NASCAR has relationships with more major corporations than any other sport.(NASCAR)(1-10-2011)
J.C. France back on track: The Grand-Am Road Racing community welcomed J.C. France back with open arms on the first day of testing for the upcoming Rolex 24 At Daytona. France, out of pro racing for more than a year after charges of drug possession and street racing in 2009 that were later dismissed, is one of five drivers assigned to the #9 Action Express Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype owned by Bob Johnson. France, grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., was suspended from Grand-Am competition only days before the 2009 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The 45-year-old driver was arrested by Daytona Beach police that October on a variety of charges ranging from street racing, DUI and possession of crack cocaine. The case was dismissed based on a technicality introduced by France's defense team. Daytona Beach police witnessed France run a red light in Holly Hill, a different municipality. Between his arrest and dismissal of the case, France underwent rehabilitation and drug testing required by Grand-Am, which is owned by NASCAR. Once cleared of charges, he was immediately reinstated by Grand-Am.(Daytona Beach News-Journal)(1-9-2011)
Some changes at NASCAR: Grand-Am Road Racing announced today that Herb Branham has been named the sanctioning body's Managing Director of Communications, effective immediately. Branham moves to Grand-Am from NASCAR, where he was the Director of Written Communications. Branham, 55, has been with NASCAR since 2001 and will retain a portion of his duties with that organization. His emphasis, though, will be with Grand-Am, where he will report to President Tom Bledsoe.
For most of the recently completed 2010 season, Branham headed Grand-Am's public relations efforts in an interim role, concentrating on increasing media coverage on both the national and in-race market levels. Also, since 2009, Branham has worked on the production of the organization's postseason awards banquets.
As a result of a recent communications review which highlighted the strength of the NASCAR competition public relations team and the need to expand into other areas to better serve the industry, NASCAR announced today the first changes resulting from the creation of an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) structure. On the IMC's Competition Team, Kerry Tharp has been promoted to Senior Director. Tharp, based in Concord, N.C., was previously Director of Competition Public Relations. In addition, the newly created Sport Services Team will be headed by Stu Hothem, who has been promoted to Director. Hothem previously was a Senior Manager overseeing Public Relations Services.(NASCAR)(10-15-2010)
Filings: Brian France behind on divorce payments: The fallout from the messy divorce of NASCAR chairman Brian France and his ex-wife continued in state appeals court Tuesday, with lawyers for Brian France arguing that the proceedings should largely be closed to the public and the couple's divorce agreement kept sealed. More at the Charlotte Observer.(9-29-2010)
New hire at NASCAR: NASCAR has announced that Andrew ("Andy") Schwalb has been named Vice President and Chief Information & Technology Officer for NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group. Schwalb will oversee NASCAR's entire technology function, carrying out strategic technological initiatives encompassing the business, media and competition aspects of the sport. He will report to NASCAR Chief Administrative Officer Ed Bennett. Schwalb had most recently been the Senior Vice President, Chief Technology Officer for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, where he had been employed for 13 years.(NASCAR)(7-17-2010)
Warfield Returns To The NASCAR PR staff: NASCAR has announced that Scott Warfield has been named Senior Manager, NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group Public Relations. Warfield will be tasked with overseeing public relations for the Charlotte office with a focus on NASCAR Media Group and NASCAR's media partners. Warfield had previously been a member of NASCAR PR from 2006-07, in the role of Manager of Public Relations, Charlotte Division, before joining Motorsports Authentics from 2007-09 as Director of Marketing, Media and PR. Most recently, Warfield ran his own PR consulting firm, Sports Biz Communications. Prior to originally joining NASCAR, Warfield was with the Sports Business Journal, where he had been staff writer since May 2004, covering motorsports and Major League Soccer. Prior to SBJ, he wrote for Triangle Business Journal, based in Raleigh, N.C.(NASCAR PR)(6-13-2010)
Update on NASCAR's Jim Hunter: Jim Hunter's official NASCAR title is vice president of corporate communications, an all-encompassing job description that for media members includes everything from formal news conference presentations to informal golf-cart chats. A former newspaper sports writer, Hunter is a beat writer's best friend, often surfacing in stories as a "NASCAR source" - the guy with the background information critical to the news du jour. Jim is also a former president of Darlington Raceway - his beloved home track. As such, Hunter is an advocate of the estimated gazillion fans who populate NASCAR Nation. But on Monday, and every day since Oct. 31, 2009, Jim is another friend fighting some form of cancer. "I have small-cell lung cancer in the upper right lung," Hunter repeated at Texas Motor Speedway's The Speedway Club [annual Media Day this week], where he had accompanied NASCAR president Mike Helton on the way home from a weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Hunter said "No, I'm doing good. I feel good. I'm looking at 2010 with an attitude of gratitude because so many people have sent me emails and asked about me. This is truly a caring industry. It's been amazing." Hunter was strong enough to attend the latter portion of Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway last month, and made the cross-country jaunt with "Big Mike" to Vegas. The illness had forced Jim to miss the 2009 season-ender at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November and the relocated NASCAR Awards Banquet in Vegas in December for the first time since the mid-1970s. Friday looms as another landmark day for Jim over at Twin Lakes Imaging Center in Daytona Beach. "I'm going for a PET (positron emission tomography) scan - that's when they run dye through your system and find out whether the tumor is gone or in remission or whatever," said Hunter, recalling how this journey began at Talladega Superspeedway last fall.
"I was there for the race," Hunter said. "We had scheduled a funky Halloween party for Saturday night before the race. And Saturday morning I woke up and my face and arm were swollen, big-time. I went to the emergency room and I had a blood clot in my neck. And within two hours I was diagnosed with lung cancer. So they take me in the hospital, put me to sleep, took a biopsy on Monday...and it was malignant. And they gave me my first chemo treatment on Tuesday. So I had chemo Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and flew back to Daytona." See full story at Racin' Today.(3-5-2010)
" Mike Fisher, managing director of NASCAR's Research & Development Center, has some additions to his team. They include Brett Bodine as the director of racing R&D, Tom Gideon as director of safety, R&D, and Jamie DiPietro as manager of safety inspections R&D.
" Beginning with the Feb. 13 season opener at Daytona, NASCAR Nationwide Series teams will be limited to 15 crew members, including the driver, crew chief, spotter and seven over-the-wall pit-crew members. Teams also won't be required to provide a scorer. Last year teams had no limit on at-track crew members.
" NASCAR Nationwide Series teams may run no more than two races in 2010 without using an engine sealed by series officials. Last year they could run three races before using a sealed engine.
" NASCAR Camping World Truck Series teams will use double-file restarts "shootout style" in 2010, making restart rules uniform across all three national series. Teams also will return to traditional pit stops, eliminating last year's procedure of refueling and changing tires on separate stops. Teams also may use a new, vented fuel dump can, eliminating the need for a catch can.(NASCAR)(1-21-2010)
NASCAR Recognizes Senior Management Team: NASCAR announced promotions of key members of its executive team. The following were elevated to Senior Vice President: Steve Phelps, Steve O'Donnell, Gary Crotty and Todd Wilson. "These promotions are the reflection of a management team that prepared NASCAR to successfully anticipate and meet challenges in recent years and position it for the future," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. "I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished in these times and I'm confident we are in a strong position to succeed as an industry going forward." Phelps, O'Donnell, Crotty and Wilson along with Senior Vice President Paul Brooks, who also serves as President of NASCAR Media Group, and NASCAR President Mike Helton make up NASCAR's key management team overseeing every aspect of the business reporting to France. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps joined NASCAR in 2005 managing all aspects of marketing and communications including the Corporate Marketing, Brand & Consumer Marketing and the Public Relations and Communications team. Under his leadership the company has seen the successful transition in key categories including entitlement sponsors for the NASCAR Nationwide Series and the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; launch of major fan outreach initiatives including the 12,000-member NASCAR Fan Council; increased media exposure in all markets; and continued strong efforts in diversifying the sport. As Vice President for Racing Operations, Steve O'Donnell has successfully managed the business relationship between the sanctioning body and industry. O'Donnell, who joined NASCAR in 1996, has worked with track operators to realign the schedule of the three national series; ushered in a more comprehensive substance abuse policy; and managed the driver/owner agreement process. General Counsel W. Garrett "Gary" Crotty, is secretary and a member of NASCAR's Board of Directors. Crotty has managed the sanctioning body's legal team since 1996. Crotty's team has successfully managed NASCAR's contracts with partners and sponsors as well as successfully defended the company in on-going litigation. Chief Financial Officer R. Todd Wilson has served in that position for NASCAR and NASCAR Media Group since 2004 and has been with the company since 1999. Wilson's financial guidance has been a valuable resource to NASCAR. In addition, the sanctioning body has elevated Eric Nyquist to Vice President, Strategic Development. He has worked directly with Brian France and led key strategic initiatives for NASCAR since 2005. Additionally, Nyquist will be overseeing NASCAR's Entertainment Marketing Office in Los Angeles, Calif., under the direction of NASCAR Vice President of Entertainment Marketing Brad Ball to further integrate lifestyle and entertainment media opportunities.(NASCAR)(1-7-2010)
Judge's orders Brian France case files opened: A Mecklenburg judge on Friday ordered the unsealing of previously secret court files in NASCAR Chairman Brian France's legal battle with his ex-wife. Lawyers said District Judge Jena Culler's ruling also means courtroom hearings in the case will also be open to the public. France had argued against that on the grounds that it could cause disclosure of information protected by a confidentiality agreement. France's attorney indicated in court that he will immediately appeal to the N.C. Court of Appeals, and that he wants no information revealed before the higher court rules. The judge isn't expected to issue a written order before the middle of next week, and she said no information will be released before then. France had filed a civil case against his ex-wife, Megan France, last year, a few months after they divorced in Florida. The judge found that while the Frances have a private interest in keeping details of their dispute secret, there is no compelling public interest.(Charlotte Observer)(12-12-2009)
NASCAR's Hunter in the fight of his life: NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, Jim Hunter, 70, was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in his right lung the weekend of the October Chase race at Talladega Superspeedway. He hasn't been to the track since, missing the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the first time and the season-ending banquet for the first time since his father died in the mid-1970s. Hunter says the chemotherapy treatments are going well and that the prognosis is positive even though the long-term survival rate for this disease isn't good. He was strong enough on Tuesday to drop by his Daytona Beach, Fla., office for a few hours and to play golf on Wednesday. He didn't hit the ball far, but as the man known for wearing golf shoes in the garage reminded me [ESPN's David Newton], "I never did anyway." [Newton] was made aware of Hunter's illness a few weeks after the Talladega race when he sent an e-mail explaining his situation. As usual, he chose to meet it head-on and not cover it up. Was reminded again of Hunter during Sunday's Fox NFL pregame show when, just before signing off, the words "Jim Hunter, keep fighting" blared through the television screen. [Newton] was reminded of him yet again that day as his wife and he put up the Christmas tree. Stumbling upon a heart-shaped ornament with Mr. and Mrs. Claus on one side and "Our First Christmas" on the other, Newton asked where it came from. "Jim Hunter," his wife said. It was a wedding gift received almost a year ago to the day. Hunter hasn't gone a day since the diagnosis without a call or e-mail from NASCAR President Mike Helton. Jimmie Johnson has e-mailed him numerous times. So has his golf buddy, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Tony Stewart, Brian Vickers, J.D. Gibbs, Felix Sabates and ... well, you get the picture. Many of the drivers might not be where they are today if not for Hunter's intervention at times when their sometimes-volatile personalities or career-threatening habits were about to get the best of them.(see full article by David Newton at ESPN.com)(12-10-2009)
Brian France submits primary residence documents in Mayfield case: NASCAR Chairman Brian France has submitted a copy of his Florida driver's license, two Florida vehicle registrations, a copy of his voting record in Florida and a copy of his 2008 federal tax return in an effort to prove to the U.S. District Court that his primary state citizenship is in Florida. The documents were submitted Tuesday in response to a court filing on behalf of suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield that claims that France misrepresented his primary residence to have the suspended driver's lawsuit moved to federal court and delay an injunction hearing. The documents are heavily edited to just show that France lived in Daytona Beach. The location of France's primary residence became an issue in the lawsuit filed by Mayfield, who was suspended by NASCAR for a May 1 drug test that NASCAR says was positive for methamphetamines. Mayfield contends that the positive finding resulted from his taking a prescription drug to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder and an over-the-counter allergy medicine. He also questions the procedures NASCAR used in determining the results.(in part from SceneDaily)(12-2-2009)
J.C. France denied license: The grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France, charged with drunken driving and possession of crack cocaine two months ago, was denied in his attempt to get his driver's license back, court records show. Jamison Colfax "J.C." France, 43, Daytona Beach, petitioned the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to have his driving privileges restored. The state agency denied France's request. France has asked a circuit judge to review his case and reverse the decision of the Florida Department of Motor Vehicles, France's attorney, Michael Politis, said Tuesday. Circuit Judge Richard S. Graham reviewed the petition and has asked France for further proof why he should overrule the state agency's decision, his judicial assistant said. France and his roommate, Russell Richmond, 40, were arrested and charged with DUI and possession of crack cocaine in October. Daytona Beach police said they stopped France after he and Richmond were seen racing each other over the Seabreeze Bridge. Court documents show France has a plea hearing scheduled Jan. 14. France is a race car driver on the Grand-Am circuit, which was founded by his father, Jim France. J.C. France immediately was suspended from racing Grand-Am after the arrest.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-2-2009)
Brian France fights to keep court documents sealed UPDATE: NASCAR chairman Brian France filed a civil complaint against his ex-wife, Megan France, last year, a few months after the couple divorced in Florida. They married in California in 2005. Lawyers persuaded Mecklenburg [County, NC] Judge Todd Owens to seal the court file from public inspection, an unusual move in a court system that typically allows widespread access to courtrooms and documents. On Friday, France's attorneys petitioned a Mecklenburg judge to bar the public from the courtroom as arguments in the case unfold. It's unclear exactly what the dispute involves, but the matter is being heard in family court and apparently involves domestic issues. France's attorneys argued Friday that a confidentiality agreement is at the heart of the case, and that it shouldn't be breached in open court hearings.(see full story at the Charlotte Observer)(11-14-2009)
UPDATE: NASCAR has asked a federal court to stop lawyers for suspended driver Jeremy Mayfield from collecting information from the ex-wife of chairman Brian France. Mayfield's attorneys subpoenaed Megan France last week requesting documents about a lawsuit filed against her by Brian France. The attorneys also asked for joint tax returns and mail addressed to Brian France. NASCAR filed a motion in U.S. District Court on Monday asking that Megan France be barred from producing the documents. The Frances were divorced in April 2008, and Brian France sued his ex-wife in North Carolina Superior Court in September of that year. All documents relating to that case were sealed in December.(Associated Press)(11-24-2009)
Lesa France-Kennedy to be keynote speaker at Motorsports Forum: International Speedway Corporation vice chairperson and CEO Lesa France-Kennedy has been announced as the keynote speaker for the inaugural Motor Sports Business Forum-North America, preceding the 22nd Performance Racing Industry Trade Show in Orlando, Dec. 10-12, 2009. Opening two days prior to the start of the PRI Trade Show at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla., the Motor Sport Business Forum-North America is preparing for its inaugural event on Dec. 8-9 at the new Hilton Orlando. Among those already confirmed in addition to France-Kennedy include Steve Phelps, NASCAR chief marketing officer; Roger VanDerSnick, ISC executive vice president and COO; Roger Edmondson, Grand-Am Road Racing and AMA Pro Racing president; and Ron Rogowski, UPS director of sponsorships and events.
The Motor Sport Business Forum North America will be organized and hosted by Switzerland's IM2 Events, which has established a series of similar events in Monaco, Abu Dhabi and Malaysia. Just Marketing International, the leading global motorsports-exclusive marketing agency, will serve as the North American co-host and manage the marketing and communications. Like the Abu Dhabi and Monaco events, the Orlando edition of MSBF will focus on the commercial side of the sport with presentations from management representatives from leading teams, sponsors, championship promoters and industry executives. Companies and racing individuals wishing to exhibit and/or attend the PRI Trade Show can go to www.performanceracing.com or call 949.499.5413. To register for any MSBF event go to: www.msbforum.com.(NASCAR.com)(7-29-2009)
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