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 6½ 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)
- France no plans on leaving the sport: NASCAR chairman Brian France doesn't plan to leave the sport, which has been run by a member of his family since it began in 1949, anytime soon. France's intentions came under question after he said last month at a motorsports marketing forum in New York that he would not be in the sport for 30 years like his father, Bill France Jr. That, along with speculation from a few years ago that the 46-year-old France might relocate an existing NFL franchise to Los Angeles, had some questioning his dedication and effectiveness. But France insisted on Thursday during the final stop of the NASCAR media tour that he plans to be around the sport founded by his grandfather, Bill France Sr., for a long time. "This gets misunderstood whenever I say something like that," France said. "It simply means that my father [spent] 32 years as CEO and president of NASCAR. All I said was that's not in the cards for me, I don't think it's a smart thing for the sport. It doesn't mean I won't have a long run. I hope I do. I hope I'm doing what I'm doing. I really like what I'm doing and like working in the industry." But France didn't rule out the possibility that the sport could one day be run without a France in charge.(ESPN.com)(1-23-2009)
- NASCAR Promotes Three: NASCAR announced the promotion of Karen Leetzow, Paula Miller and Susan Schandel to vice president positions. Leetzow has been named vice president/deputy general counsel; Miller has been named vice president of human resources and organizational development; and Schandel has been named vice president/chief accounting officer. All three promotions are effective immediately.(NASCAR PR)(12-23-2008)
- Jim France buys into bank: The vice chairman of NASCAR has acquired a 72% controlling interest in CenterBank of Jacksonville N.A. James C. France, who is also chairman of Daytona-based International Speedway Corp., said he made the investment based on the potential for growth in the Jacksonville market. “With port development activities and the potential of adding an aircraft carrier to the naval base at Mayport, we see Jacksonville as poised for exceptional growth,” said France. “We’re glad to be a part of a bank that will help that growth happen.” France is the son of Bill France Sr., the co-founder of NASCAR. The France family has a history of banking in Florida. Bill France Sr. was a shareholder in American National Bank. CenterBank President and CEO Raymond K. Mason Jr. was president of American National Bank. “I’ve known Jim and his family for more than 30 years and am looking forward to having him as a partner,” said Mason.(Jacksonville Business Journal)(12-2-2008)
- France To Deliver Keynote Speech at APSE National Convention: Brian France, NASCAR's Chairman and CEO, will serve as the keynote speaker Thursday afternoon at the annual Associated Press Sports Editor (APSE) National Convention, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Minneapolis, Minn. France accepted an invitation from APSE President Mike Fannin of the Kansas City Star, 10 years after his late father, Bill France, spoke to the same organization’s national convention in Richmond, Va. Topics France plans to address include the changing landscape of the newspaper business, with special emphasis on the move toward increased online coverage – and the NASCAR-related content available to assist that coverage. Fannin, meanwhile, cited the evolving NASCAR landscape as a reason for inviting France. “We had Brian’s dad speak in 1998 and a lot has changed in NASCAR since then,” Fannin said. “And yet, the France family is still making auto racing ‘go’ in America. We wanted to hear from the man who’s taking the sport into new places and adapting it for the 21st-century marketplace.”(NASCAR PR)(6-26-2008)
- Little Named NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Director: NASCAR announced Chad Little has been named the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour director. Little, a former NASCAR driver, has been an official with NASCAR since 2005, most recently as advisor to the NASCAR Mexico Series. “Modified racing is an integral part of NASCAR history,” Little said. “The series is strong and I am looking forward to helping it continue to grow. I had the chance to meet and get to know a lot of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour officials, competitors, promoters and fans last year. There is not a more passionate group than those involved with Modified racing, and that translates into some of the best racing in NASCAR.” Former tour director Ed Cox will handle special projects with the NASCAR competition division. At the 2007 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour banquet, series sponsor Whelen Engineering announced it was extending its entitlement sponsorship through 2016.(NASCAR PR)(2-10-2008)
- NASCAR Settles with Family of Plane Crash victim: NASCAR has agreed to a multi-million dollar settlement with a man who lost his wife and son when a NASCAR owned plane slammed into their Sanford Florida home. That plane crash last July set off a massive fire. Joe Woodard lost his wife Janice and his 6 month old son Josiah. In the home next door four year old Gabreila DeChat died and her brother 10 year old Daniel Happy is still recovering in the Shriners’ Burn Center in Cincinnati. The plane was piloted by Dr. Bruce Kennedy the husband of Lesa France Kennedy president of International Speedway Corporation. NASCAR pilot Michael Klemm was also killed. DeChat’s parents were also burned but have since recovered from their injuries. Woodward’s attorney wouldn’t discuss the terms of the settlement.(Fox News Orlando), past news on the crash at the Daytona Beach News Journal.(1-12-2008)
- NASCAR Official leaving post: NASCAR Vice President of Broadcasting and New Media Dick Glover will leave the sanctioning body later this month, a NASCAR spokesman confirmed Thursday. Glover will become CEO of Funny or Die Networks, a celebrity and user-generated video content site co-founded by comedian/actor Will Ferrell, NASCAR spokesman Ramsey Poston said. Glover, who worked at ABC and ESPN prior to joining NASCAR in 2003, managed the sanctioning body's television partnerships, new media and entertainment. Glover's last day at NASCAR will be January 15, Street and Smith's SportsBusiness Daily reported.(SceneDaily.com)(1-4-2008)
- Paul Brooks To Lead NASCAR’s Charlotte, N.C. Office: NASCAR announced that effective immediately, Paul Brooks, senior vice president for NASCAR, will take over day-to-day responsibilities for NASCAR’s Charlotte, N.C. offices and will lead efforts for the creation of the NASCAR Media Group. All broadcasting, new media, licensing and consumer products, automotive aftermarket, and publishing departments will report to Brooks. Brooks, who continues to serve as president of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment, will supervise the creation of the NASCAR Media Group, a merger of NASCAR Images, NASCAR Digital Entertainment and other affiliated content groups. Brooks will serve as president of the new NASCAR Media Group and NASCAR Broadcasting and will continue to report to NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France. NASCAR Media Group will be a rights management, content production, distribution and entertainment company designed to grow exposure, media and content opportunities for the entire sport, while also helping to best serve the public relations and media industry that covers NASCAR worldwide. Brooks’ current responsibilities in the areas of public relations, public affairs and diversity will shift to Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps.(NASCAR PR)(9-18-2007)
- Husband of NASCAR executive dies in plane crash; 5 killed; 4 hurt UPDATES: Dr. Bruce Kennedy, husband of International Speedway Corp. President Lesa France Kennedy, was killed this morning when the plane he was piloting crashed into a Sanford neighborhood, setting two houses on fire, according to informed sources close to Daytona International Speedway and NASCAR. At least four other persons were killed, including two children, Sanford Fire Chief Gerard Ransom confirmed about noon. The identities of the dead were not released and NASCAR did not immediately provide any details but at least four informed sources confirmed the identity of the Daytona Beach plastic surgeon to The News-Journal. A NASCAR spokesman in Charlotte, NC, said the public relations staff in Daytona Beach was "in the information gathering stage" and that he knew no details at this point. Kennedy was piloting the Cessna 310 when it went down about 8:50 a.m. shortly after takeoff from Daytona International Airport. At a briefing shortly before 11am/et, the Seminole County Sheriff's office said the pilot and co-pilot were both killed in the crash. The plane crashed into one house and the resulting fire ignited another house next door. The crash occurred on Willowbay Ridge Court at a subdivision called The Preserve at Lake Monroe, south of U.S. 17-92 and east of Interstate 4. Located near the Central Florida Zoo and the Orlando Sanford International Airport, the subdivision is comprised of new two-story single family homes. "It was an extremely intense fire," said Matt Minnetto, a fire investigator with Sanford Fire Department. Minnetto said a boy, believed to be about 10 years old, was among the injured, with about 80% to 90% of his body burned. Joe Brown, spokesman for Orlando Regional Medical Center, confirmed that two adults and child had been taken to that facility. He said he could release no names or conditions of the patients.
The twin-engine plane 310 was registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau Inc. of Daytona Beach, said Kathleen Bergen with the Federal Aviation Administration. Competitor Liaison is based in Daytona Beach and lists William C. France, the late chairman of NASCAR, as its registered agent in online records from the Department of State Division of Corporations. James C. France also is listed as an officer of the company. The plane was traveling from Daytona Beach to Lakeland when the pilot declared smoke in the cockpit. The plane tried to land at the Orlando Sanford International Airport when it crashed about a mile or two north of the airport, Bergen said. At a news briefing, authorities confirmed that two people died in the plane. Three people in the home that sustained the direct hit were injured, including a mother, father and 10-year-old boy who sustained burns over 80 to 90% of his body.
A Lake Mary firefighter who was off duty and without protective equipment was treated for smoke inhalation. The firefighter was the first to arrive on the scene, entered the home and rescued the boy.The crash call came about 8:30am. A witness saw the plane teetering as it was coming across Lake Monroe. It hit the rear of one of two houses on Willowbay Ridge Street. The resulting fire spread quickly because of the aviation fuel aboard. The two homes and the plane were completely destroyed. National Transportation Safety Board Spokesman Ted Lopatkiewicz said an investigator has been sent to the scene. "You're looking at the maintenance history of the aircraft, the flight history of the pilot and weather conditions," Lopatkiewicz said of some the information the investigator will collect. A preliminary report will be available within a couple weeks while a complete investigation could take up to a year, Lopatkiewicz said. Kennedy's death came just five weeks after the June 4 death of Lesa France Kennedy's father, Bill France Jr. She serves as president of the family-run International Speedway Corp. The couple was married May 7, 1988 at Seabreeze United Church. They have one son, Ben, now about 15. FAA records confirm he received his commercial pilot certification on May 24.(Daytona Beach News Journal/Associated Press and more info at wftv.com)
NASCAR Statement: Regarding Sanford, Fla. Plane Crash - "This morning, at approximately 8:40am/et, a Cessna 310 registered to Competitor Liaison Bureau, Inc. of Daytona Beach, crashed in a Sanford, Florida, area neighborhood. At this time, we can confirm there were two people on-board, including the pilot, Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm, a senior captain with NASCAR Aviation. Both were killed in the crash. “Dr. Kennedy was the husband of NASCAR Board Member and ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. It is clear that numerous families were affected by this terrible tragedy and unfortunately several people were deceased or seriously injured. Our deepest sympathies and prayers are with all of those who were involved in this tragic accident and their families. We will provide additional information as it becomes available.”(NASCAR PR)(7-10-2007)
UPDATE: A twin-engine NASCAR plane had broken control cables and its crew reported smoke in the cockpit before crashing into a suburban neighborhood and killing five people. However, it was unknown whether the cables broke in flight or after impact, and the cause of the July 10 crash in Sanford remained unclear, according to a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board released Tuesday. Numerous separations in the cables in the right wing and forward fuselage of the Cessna 310 showed signs of tension overload, according to the report.(Associated Press)(7-24-2007)
- NASCAR Licensing Executive Joins Motorsports Authentics as President & CEO: Mark Dyer, a seasoned licensing executive with over 25 years in sports business, has been named president and chief executive officer of Motorsports Authentics, the merchandise retailer owned in a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Speedway Motorsports, Inc. (SMI). Dyer, 48, who currently serves as vice president of licensing and consumer products for NASCAR, will assume his duties immediately, and will report to the Motorsports Authentics Board of Managers, which is comprised of ISC President Lesa France Kennedy; SMI Executive Vice President, National Sales and Marketing, Marcus Smith; ISC Chief Marketing Officer Roger VanDerSnick; and SMI Board Member Mark Gambill. Former President Ruth Crowley has elected to leave Motorsports Authentics to pursue a new business opportunity. She will assist Dyer in the coming week(s) to ensure a smooth transition.
As president, Dyer will oversee the acquisition and development of intellectual
property licenses, coordinating with teams, drivers, sanctioning bodies,
promoters and sponsors to enhance industry opportunities. In addition, Dyer
will develop partnerships with best-in-class suppliers and manufacturers,
develop and implement strategies with in-market retailers in all distribution
channels, and liaise with promoters to optimize the trackside retail footprint,
maximize points-of-sale and improve the fan experience.
"Mark brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise both in motorsports licensing
and sales to Motorsports Authentics," said France Kennedy. "His extensive
relationships and background, specifically his most recent experience in
Charlotte as the head of global licensing for NASCAR, will allow him to
immediately contribute to the growth of the joint venture."
Added Smith: "Over the last several years, Mark has overseen and directed a
period of significant growth for NASCAR's licensing business and we anticipate
his tenure at Motorsports Authentics will be very successful. We also sincerely
thank Ruth for all of her contributions to Motorsports Authentics, and wish her
great success in her future endeavours."
As VP at NASCAR, a position held since 2002, Dyer led the day-to-day management
of the sanctioning body's Charlotte operation. In this position, Dyer oversaw
all aspects of a $2.1 billion industry that now has companies putting the NASCAR
brand on a broad spectrum of quality products.
In addition to traditional licensing, Dyer also oversaw NASCAR's automotive
aftermarket licensing program, retail program development, promotional
marketing, publishing and The NASCAR Foundation. Finally, Dyer was NASCAR's
lead negotiator throughout the Hall of Fame site-selection process.
Dyer said, "I have been involved in the motorsports industry for over a decade
and I welcome this opportunity to work more closely with drivers, teams and
distributors to further elevate the popularity of the sport. It has been an
honor to work with NASCAR and to be part of growing its brand. I look forward to
building upon my prior experiences and working closely with the strong team
already in place to enable Motorsports Authentics to flourish as the pre-eminent
source for quality licensed merchandise."
Prior to NASCAR, Dyer owned and operated NASCAR Café in Las Vegas, Nevada, and
was formerly the president and CEO of H&C Racing, Inc., the company that
launched the NASCAR Café concept. Dyer was also an executive at Host
Communications from 1989 to 1996, where he oversaw the communications company's
More info at www.motorsports-authentics.com, which is based in Concord, NC, is a 50/50 joint venture between International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc.(PR)(6-19-2007)
- France: Daytona Accident "closed case": After Daytona Beach Police officers were determined to have followed proper procedures investigating a traffic accident of NASCAR Chairman Brian France, the NASCAR head says he considers the issue closed.
"As previously stated, I fully cooperated with the police on the night in question about what happened on my way home from a fast-food restaurant," France said in a statement released by NASCAR. "I accidentally brushed against a tree or roadside stump on the narrow road leading to my apartment. The State Attorney's Office and the Daytona Beach Police Department have concluded that all the procedures were followed; as such I consider this case closed."(SceneDaily.com)(12-19-2006)
- France admits he was drinking night of accident: NASCAR CEO Brian France admitted to officers he had been drinking the night a woman followed him to his condominium after she observed him driving erratically on U.S. 1. But because police never interviewed France until he was inside his residence, they could not arrest him for DUI, an internal affairs investigation released Thursday shows. Regardless, Police Chief Mike Chitwood said that once his officers knew who was involved in the incident, they went the extra mile to make sure they followed the law and gave France no special treatment. The investigation also shows that when a sergeant who was called to the scene learned the driver of the car was France, he in turn called a lieutenant. The sergeant then relayed to one of the officers: "We're just here to do our job, OK, we do what we always do under these circumstances." The chief said officers were somewhat rattled when they learned the incident involved France. France crashed his Lexus sedan into a tree just outside his condominium on Marina Point Drive around 9 p.m., a police report states. When several officers responded to the scene at 9:51 p.m., the man had already gone upstairs to his apartment, Chitwood said. Roughly 20 minutes later, the officers knocked on France's door. France came downstairs with them, dressed in fresh clothes. ''I think that when everyone found out this was Brian France, they knew they had better dot their I's and cross their T's," Chitwood said Thursday. Nonetheless, a police report prepared on the call witness Shirley Hill made to 911 as she followed France south on U.S.1, east on Orange Avenue then onto Beach Street on Nov. 6, does not mention that France had admitted to having "a few (alcoholic beverages) over at the Chart House" earlier that night. That detail was not included in the paperwork, Chitwood said, because the officer was investigating a crash, not a DUI. ''That information of course came out in detail in the internal affairs investigation," the chief said. "I believe everything Ms. Hill told us and you can draw your own conclusions from that. The bottom line is, he (France) was out of his car, he was inside his apartment and he could have had the alcohol there and hours before. But since we didn't stop him in his car, we can't touch him." The matter , however, led to two policy changes within the Daytona Beach Police Department: Whenever there is a DUI incident, the highest-ranking supervisor on the shift will be called to the scene and take control of the investigation; and no officer will report off-duty until all of his or her reports are complete.(more at the Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-15-2006)
- Probe shows proper action in Brian France case: Officers who responded to the riverfront condominium of NASCAR President Brian France after a witness reported a man driving "at a very reckless speed" last month, handled the case properly, the State Attorney's Office has said. A letter from the State Attorney's Office sent Friday to Daytona Beach police came after an internal investigation to determine whether officers gave France special treatment the night they went to his Marina Pointe residence. On Nov. 6, a motorist called 911 after spotting a man in a Lexus racing down Ridgewood Avenue, Orange Avenue and Beach Street. The caller, store clerk Shirley Hill of Daytona Beach, followed France to the guard shack of his condo while she spoke to the dispatcher and described how the man was driving on curbs, struck a parked car and then scraped a tree. Hill had no idea the driver she was pursuing was the NASCAR CEO until a condo security guard told her. When questioned, France told officers he was driving and drinking a soda when he "bumped into something," the initial report states. When police checked the inside of his four-door car, they saw evidence of a spilled soft drink. The 44-year-old France was not cited and he was not given a field sobriety test. Police at the scene said he did not smell of alcohol, Chief Mike Chitwood said at the time. However, the same week the incident occurred, Chitwood ordered an internal-affairs investigation into how the officers handled the case. The chief said he asked the State Attorney's Office to weigh in on the matter because he wanted to know whether his officers should have leveled some kind of charge against France. But in a two-sentence letter dated Dec. 8, Assistant State Attorney Robert J. Bobek wrote: "Based on the report you provided, we believe the officers took the appropriate action." Results of the internal affairs investigation were not released Tuesday and Chitwood could not be reached for comment.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(12-13-2006)
- Brian France in accident....is OK UPDATE investigation/911 call: According to a Daytona Beach police report, Brian France crashed his Lexus four-door sedan into a tree just outside his condominium on Marina Point Drive. Police said Magnolia Avenue resident Shirley Hill saw France enter the parking lot of the Chart House restaurant just after 9pm/et. Monday and plow into a tree on the property. At that point, the 44-year-old France backed up his car and slid into the underground parking garage of the nearby Marina Point condominium, where he has a unit, the report shows. Hill called police and reported the wreck. Police Chief Mike Chitwood said officers called France downstairs that night to ask what had happened. France did not return a telephone call to The Daytona Beach News-Journal on Wednesday, but the report shows he told police he was drinking a soda and driving when he "bumped something" and the drink spilled in his car. Officers inspected the interior of the car and found the remains of the soda on the dashboard and front seat, the report shows. They also spotted debris from a palm tree on France's passenger door, but no damaged tree in the Chart House parking lot, the report states. It is not clear why Hill was driving behind France on Beach Street and what France actually struck. Hill could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Chitwood said officers at the scene did not ask France to perform a field sobriety test because, "He did not smell of alcohol or anything like that."(Daytona Beach News Journal)(11-9-2006)
UPDATE: A witness told police NASCAR boss Brian France was driving recklessly and hit more than a tree as he sped home to his riverfront condominium earlier this week. Now, Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood, after speaking to witness Shirley Hill, has launched an internal affairs investigation to determine whether officers who responded to France's condo on Marina Pointe Drive on Monday night handled the incident correctly. "If I find out that someone gave him (France) a break because of his last name, someone is going to have to look for a new job," Chitwood said Thursday afternoon. More at the Daytona Beach News Journal and listen to the 911 call there.(11-10-2006)
UPDATE 2: NASCAR issued a brief statement on the matter late Friday afternoon, which read, "“Brian France cooperated fully with the Daytona Beach Police Department on Monday night at the time of the incident and remains available for any follow up questions they might have. France accidentally brushed against a tree or roadside stump on the narrow road leading to his apartment. No one was injured. The car he was driving had some minor damage. He went on to his condo and cooperated fully with police officers who had been called to the scene by a 911 operator. France said a coke he was holding spilled into his lap as he was driving into his condo complex, momentarily diverting his attention from the road.”(Speed Channel)
Also see a report at the Associated Press site.(11-11-2006)
- NASCAR Hires new Director of Security: NASCAR has named Gary L. Gardner, a veteran Supervisory Special Agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), as its new Director of Security. Gardner will oversee all aspects of NASCAR’s corporate and event security. Gardner, 58, retired from the FBI in 1999 after 32 years of service. Near the end of his FBI career, Gardner joined the bureau’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division. During that time, he directed the design and development of a national interactive computer communications capability and information service used exclusively for the law enforcement/ criminal justice/public safety community. Gardner also serves as the First Vice President of the Charlotte InfraGard Chapter, a public/ private sector organization involved in the protection of our nation’s critical infrastructures. He is a decorated U.S. Army Ranger veteran and is a graduate of American University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in Administration of Criminal Justice.(NASCAR PR)(9-21-2006)
- Gary Crotty Named to NASCAR Board of Directors: W. Garrett “Gary” Crotty, Secretary and General Counsel for the NASCAR, has been named to NASCAR’s Board of Directors. Crotty, 43, is a native of Daytona Beach. He received his undergraduate degree from Duke University in 1985 and his law degree from the University of Florida in 1988. Upon graduating from Florida he entered private practice specializing in general and commercial law. From 1990-91 he attended New York University, receiving a Master’s Degree in taxation law. Crotty joined NASCAR as Secretary and General Counsel in 1996. He oversees the company’s legal department located in the corporate headquarters in Daytona Beach, as well as extended offices in Charlotte, N.C., Concord, N.C. and New York, N.Y. He joins the current five-person NASCAR Board of Directors: Chairman/CEO Brian France; Vice Chairman Bill France; Vice Chairman Jim France; Vice President Lesa Kennedy; and President Mike Helton. Crotty is the son of the late E. William “Bill” Crotty, an attorney and civic leader in Daytona Beach and a long-time advisor to Bill France, NASCAR’s former Chairman and current Vice Chairman. Bill Crotty was named an ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean during the Clinton administration and also served as chairman of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee Board of Directors.(NASCAR PR)(8-31-2006)
- Hawk leaves NASCAR? According to an industry source, Don Hawk and NASCAR have parted ways. Hawk has served as the NASCAR Director of Regional Racing Development — which oversees the touring divisions, including the Busch East and Whelen Modified Series — for the past three seasons. Hawk could not be reached for comment.(The Day)(5-27-2006)
- Time chooses Brian France as influential: Brian France, chairman and chief executive officer of NASCAR -- has a new title to his name today courtesy of TIME Magazine. France, 43, is one of the world's 100 most influential people, according to an edition of the magazine that hits newsstands today. He was selected in the "Builders and Titans" category, one of five that also include heroes and pioneers; leaders and revolutionaries; scientists and thinkers and artists and entertainers. This is the third year TIME has published such a list, with other famous people invited to write profiles of those who are selected as the most influential people in the world. Darrell Waltrip, a three-time NASCAR driving champion and race analyst for Fox Sports, wrote about France.(Daytona Beach News Journal and see the story at TIME.com)(5-1-2006)
- NASCAR PR Dude to run Boston Marathon: The 110th Boston Marathon is set for April 17 with the event’s massive starting grid including Jeremy Davidson, an Amherst, Mass. native who handles public relations outreach for NASCAR’s weekly and touring competition levels. It will have approximately 500,000 spectators spread out along a race course of 26.2 miles. There will be approximately 20,000 competitors and more than 1,000 media members reporting on it all. Boston will be the fourth marathon for Davidson, 30. But he equates this run as something akin to a young driver making their first start at Daytona (because of the prestige) or Darlington (because of the history). As in auto racing, an entrant must qualify for the Boston Marathon. You don’t just show up on race day with your gym bag. To qualify for entry to the Boston event, one must provide the Boston Athletic Association proof of completion of a prior marathon in a time of less than 3 hours, 10 minutes. Davidson qualified with a time of three hours and seven minutes in the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando, Fla., in January. That time was 44 minutes quicker than Davidson’s first marathon time of 3:51 in the Disney event in 2004. Davidson began training for the Boston event shortly after he qualified for it, consuming 100 ounces of water a day, maintaining a diet of 70 percent carbohydrates, and daily running distances of 10 to 15 miles or more. “I’m on pins and needles waiting for the event to start,” Davidson said. “The Boston Marathon is an American sporting tradition like the Daytona 500. As a race course, Boston is really the “Darlington” of marathons. At 110 years, Boston is the oldest marathon like Darlington is NASCAR’s oldest superspeedway. The Boston Marathon course is extremely difficult, just like Darlington Raceway.”(NASCAR PR)(4-11-2006)
- Brian France sells most of his ISC Stock: NASCAR Chairman Brian France has sold most of his stock in International Speedway Corp., the publicly traded track operating company controlled by his family, but an ISC spokesman said March 9 there is nothing unusual about the action. France didn't own much of the stock, relatively speaking, in the first place. According to its annual filing of stockholders to the Securities and Exchange Commission, ISC reported March 6 that Brian France had 8,930 shares of Class A stock and 8,033 of Class B stock (.03% of the total voting power). In last year's report, he had 237,078 shares of Class A and 235,181 of Class B (0.78% voting power). The stock sales happened sometime before Jan. 31.
His sister, ISC President Lesa France Kennedy, also has given up some of her stock. She had 417,404 shares of Class A and 391,718 shares of Class B (1.34% of the total). At the end of last year, she owned 888,812 of Class A and 867,407 shares of Class B (2.9% in voting power).
None of the sales were to anyone outside of the France Family Group (made up of 35 members), which collectively owns 62.95% of the ISC stock and votes as one entity. Members of the France family own stock as part of the France Family Group and also can own shares outside of it. There are transfers all of the time between entities because they're trying to do estate planning and other things," ISC Investor Relations Director Wes Harris said. "There's been no direct sales of the France Family Group stock."(SceneDaily.com)(3-15-2006)
- Tharp named NASCAR PR Mgr: NASCAR announced that Kerry Tharp will manage public relations for NASCAR's three national racing series and the weekly and touring series. In his new role, Tharp will be responsible for all at-track media procedures, public relations for the Research and Development Center and NASCAR media events in Charlotte, N.C. “Kerry will further reinforce our at-track public relations efforts to ensure that we continue to be responsive to media requests and vigorously promote the sport,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. “Kerry’s ability to develop personal relationships and work with others will be a benefit to all.” Tharp joined NASCAR’s PR team in April 2005 as director for NASCAR’s licensing office in Charlotte and worked with NASCAR’s licensees to provide public relations support and strategy. He will transfer from his role in NASCAR’s Charlotte licensing office to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. and will report to Ramsey Poston, NASCAR’s managing director of corporate communications. Prior to joining NASCAR, Tharp spent 26 years in college sports public relations, 20 of which he was the Associate Athletics Director/Sports Information Director at the University of South Carolina. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in PR from Western Kentucky University and a Masters Degree in Communications from the University of Tennessee.(NASCAR PR)(2-24-2006)
- Gary Nelson resigns from NASCAR UPDATE: on the Speed Channel 'crawl' this afternoon: SPEED reporter Bob Dillner has learned that Gary Nelson, NASCAR's VP of Research and Development, will submit his resignation Wednesday. Nelson has been in charge of the development of NASCAR's Car of Tomorrow.
UPDATE: Gary Nelson, NASCAR vice-president of research and development, announced today he is leaving the sanctioning organization to form his own company. "It has been a lifelong dream of mine to have my own company that specializes in safety, performance and other technology-driven aspects of motorsports," said Nelson. "I've been thinking about it for a long time and now is a good time to do it. 'Nelson & Associates’ will be open for business right away and I’m delighted that NASCAR will be my first client.” With NASCAR as a client, Nelson will continue his efforts on the Car of Tomorrow and other safety initiatives for the racing industry. “Gary has been a great contributor to NASCAR’s success,” said NASCAR President Mike Helton, “beginning as a crew member, then as a championship crew chief and, most recently, as a leader in NASCAR’s commitment to safety. “This is something he has always wanted to do and it will be a great opportunity for Gary to take advantage of his racing knowledge and make it available to the entire motorsports industry. We look forward to continuing our relationship with Gary in this new role,” Helton said. Nelson will use his quarter-century of experience in NASCAR racing and make it available to other forms of racing. The 52-year-old native of California won the 1982 Daytona 500 and the 1983 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup championship with driver Bobby Allison. It was Allison’s only Championship. Three years later, Nelson again won the Daytona 500 this time with driver Geoff Bodine. Nelson became NASCAR’s Nextel Cup Director in 1992 and was named Vice President of NASCAR’s newly formed Research and Development facility in 2002.(NASCAR)(2-21-2006)
- NASCAR Restructures Executive Management Team: NASCAR announced multiple management changes, effective immediately, that will position NASCAR to continue its strong growth and more efficiently manage business decisions and communications throughout the company and the industry. Paul Brooks will be taking on additional responsibilities as senior vice president and will continue his role as president of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment. Brooks will now oversee all broadcasting, new media, entertainment, corporate administration, corporate communications, diversity, international business and business affairs. Steve Phelps is promoted to chief marketing officer (CMO) and will oversee all NASCAR corporate marketing, industry marketing, brand and consumer marketing, multi-media, sales, licensing, business development and The NASCAR Foundation. Phelps will relocate to Daytona Beach, Fla. from New York City. Phelps will report to Brian France. Phelps joined NASCAR as vice president of corporate marketing last July following a 15-year career with the National Football League (NFL) and most recently, the top sales executive for Wasserman Media Group. Taking over for Phelps in New York will be former NFL and Viacom executive Jim O’Connell. O’Connell will serve as vice president of corporate marketing and will manage NASCAR’s New York office and all corporate marketing initiatives. O’Connell will report to Phelps.
NASCAR President Mike Helton will continue to interface with all NASCAR departments with direct management of all areas of competition, research and development, events and operations, and the touring and weekly series. Helton continues to report to Brian France and serve on NASCAR’s Board of Directors. NASCAR Chief Financial Officer Todd Wilson and General Counsel Gary Crotty will continue their current duties and report to Brian France. NASCAR and its affiliated companies currently employ 886 people. The company is headquartered in Daytona Beach, Fla. and has key offices throughout the country. NASCAR offices are located in the following markets: New York City, Corporate Marketing; Los Angeles, Calif., Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment; Charlotte, N.C., and Bentonville, Ark., Licensing; and Concord, N.C., home to NASCAR’s Research and Development Center.(NASCAR PR)(2-21-2006)
- Pyne leaving NASCAR: George Pyne, chief operating officer for NASCAR since 2002, will leave his post to become president of the International Management Group early next week, according to a high-ranking official in the racing organization. IMG, founded by the late Mark H. McCormack in 1960 on a handshake deal with golf legend Arnold Palmer, is considered one of the top sports marketing and representation firms in the world. "George got the kind of opportunity that you don’t say no to," said the NASCAR official. "His success at NASCAR in negotiating the big deals will easily translate into success at IMG. NASCAR wishes him well and hopes to do business with him in his next endeavor." Pyne could not be reached for comment last night. NASCAR is expected to announce Pyne’s resignation at a press conference on Monday.(Boston Herald)(1-21-2006)
- New NASCAR Hire: NASCAR announced the hiring of Lazaro "Laz" Benitez Manager of East Regional Media Outreach. Benitez will be based in NASCAR's New York City office and will be responsible for communications planning and managing all media outreach efforts to raise awareness about NASCAR in the Northeast.(NASCAR)(9-1-2005)
- France squashes NFL rumor...again: Brian France denies rumors he is relinquishing his job as NASCAR chief executive officer to start an NFL franchise in Los Angeles. "I'm having a great time, and I have the support of our board and family, and we're having a great year," France said Saturday at Bristol. "We have the car of tomorrow coming up. I want to expand us internationally over the next five or 10 years, and I still want to stay on course with our diversity efforts." France added he's committed to push NASCAR's "big agenda" and won't rest until he makes "NASCAR the most exciting racing in the world."(Sporting News/Lee Spencer)(8-29-2005)
- NASCAR hires former NFL marketing executive: NASCAR has announced the hiring of former NFL executive Scott Phelps as its vice president of corporate marketing. Phelps, 42, will succeed Brett Yormark, who left to become chief executive officer of the New Jersey Nets. Phelps, who was vice president of corporate sponsorship at the NFL before leaving 13 months ago, is scheduled to start his new position in NASCAR's New York office on Aug. 8. NASCAR also announced the promotion of Roger VanDerSnick from director of brand and consumer marketing to vice president, marketing.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(7-19-2005)
- What's up with Ty Norris? get asked, saw this,so........If Dale Earnhardt Jr. ever wonders whether there would be life for him after DEI, all he has to do is look to Ty Norris. Norris served as Dale Earnhardt Inc.'s vice president/director of motorsports for nearly eight years. But 16 months after leaving the post, Norris is thriving in a less pressure-packed environment as one of the principals behind the new Official NASCAR Members Club – though he still keeps tabs on his former employer. Launched in February at Daytona, the fan-based club has quickly grown to more than 10,000 members with little publicity or advertising. And Norris hopes the membership will continue to expand. "We're now going to start to turn on the faucet for acquisition in June and start to bring a lot more people in," said Norris, who is one of four senior vice presidents of the NMC. "Our desire is to be the largest-based affinity program ever created, and with 75 million fans to pull from, you'd think we could reach it." The NMC is a club for fans of the sport, with a frequent flyer-style program that awards members with discounts and other special offers that, according to Norris, include deals and access traditionally reserved for those within the garage. Memberships run $40 per year, but the return on investment is immediate: in the initiation kit, members receive roughly $700 in discount coupons and offers. While Norris realizes the NMC is a radical departure from his role at DEI – and from his subsequent 10-month stint as a vice president of Speedway Motorsports Inc. – he's at peace with himself and having a blast. While he won't give specifics about why he left DEI, Norris can't help but still feel some emotional attachment to the team – particularly with the organization's current struggles, most notably with Earnhardt Jr.'s under-performing #8 team. "It's really heartbreaking, to be honest with you," Norris said. "I left eight years of 24 hours a day laying on the concrete at the shop when I left. It's hard for me not to have an opinion about it. I'm disappointed they're not doing better. I still have a lot of passion for the place." Like many observers, Norris is baffled by some of the changes that have occurred since he left, including some of the same changes bandied about while he was still there.(see full article at Yahoo Sports)(6-15-2005)
- France says he will not leave NASCAR: NASCAR chairman Brian France continues to deny any plans to leave NASCAR any time soon, but the speculation is hotter than ever this week that once France finishes the new TV negotiations, sometime over the next year, he will, indeed, be moving on. France won't discuss the family business in any detail, and NASCAR is a private family venture, unlike the publicly-traded International Speedway Corp. However, insiders say that France has sold, or is selling, or plans to sell his shares in NASCAR to the rest of the family. Some of the sport's biggest and most important figures are wondering who the France family might pick to succeed Brian if he leaves. There are indications that Jim France, Brian's uncle and the brother of long-time NASCAR boss Bill Jr., and Lesa France Kennedy, Bill Jr.'s daughter and the woman running the family's ISC track operations, are heading the search for candidates.(Winston Salem Journal)(5-13-2005)
- Once Again, France denies NFL Rumor: The rumors that Brian France has sold shares of the family racing business to buy into an NFL franchise keep chasing the young NASCAR chairman and CEO like a rabid dog. The rumor flared up again two weeks ago when former NBA great Magic Johnson told USA Today, "It would be wonderful that Brian France would be interested in being a part-owner or owner in the Los Angeles franchise."
"It may be wonderful, but I'm not interested, so that's where it stands," France said in a telephone interview from his Los Angeles office Thursday. "We've gotten to know each other through the NASCAR diversity council, and I've had dinner with Magic a couple of times, and I like him a lot," France added. "He knows I've had a home out here in Los Angeles before and all that stuff. We've never had a conversation regarding the NFL." France chairs the NASCAR board of directors, comprised mostly of his family members. NASCAR is a private company. He also owns a large chunk of the publicly traded International Speedway Corp. Both NASCAR and ISC are headquartered in Daytona Beach, FL. When asked about selling off his shares of NASCAR or ISC stock back to the family, presumably to finance an NFL bid, France would not discuss it. "We don't get into any of our family planning within the business," the 42-year-old executive said. "We do all kinds of financial transactions within the family. What I can tell you is that I'm heavily invested in the industry of NASCAR. I have a financial interest that, in my little world, is very important to me and I plan on keeping for a long time." When pressed for more information, France would not budge off the non-comment. "The public company (ISC) has various filings we've had, but we've never talked about the infrastructure of the private company and I can't get into that," he said. "I'd break the family tradition.I don't understand it," he said. "No. 1, I would have to hit the lottery to be able to afford an NFL team, the last time I checked," he said. "Economically, I'm not in that position. Secondly, I have a big interest in NASCAR. I have a huge financial and 20-years-of-my-life, interest in NASCAR. I'm in big-time sports. I don't need an NFL team to satisfy my sports needs." France said the persistent rumor that he wants to own a piece of the NFL has not hurt his effectiveness as NASCAR's leader, but he quickly added, "It's not helpful." France said he doubts he will manage NASCAR as long as his father, William C. France, who had control of the family company for more than 30 years. "I just don't think that will be the case for me," he said. "I don't see myself doing this until I'm 70 years old, but that should not be misconstrued that I'm out the door tomorrow morning."(in part from the Daytona Beach News Journal),(4-8-2005)
- France and the NFL rumor resurfaces MORE II: Brian France's on-and-off plans to get into the National Football League as part-owner of a proposed new Los Angeles franchise may be back on again, according to sources who say France is working with Magic Johnson on various NFL-NBA angles. Johnson is on the NASCAR business roster to help this sport's diversity program. The latest thinking on France-to-the-NFL is that he will complete NASCAR's current round of TV renegotiations before making any big moves. France has insisted he's not planning on leaving NASCAR anytime soon, though he has left the door open.(Winston Salem Journal)(3-21-2005)
MORE: Former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson says he and NASCAR chairman/CEO Brian France have held discussions concerning the purchase of an NFL team for Los Angeles. Johnson, a co-chairman of NASCAR's diversity committee, said he has met three or four times with France in Los Angeles, where France has a home [it was announced last year France had sold his house in LA and moved to Daytona Beach...Philly Inquirer in Feb 2004], and he said the two will meet again in two weeks. "I'm working on trying to bring the NFL back to L.A.," Johnson said in a telephone interview Tuesday night. "I've met with the league three, four, five times, hopefully to be a minority owner." Los Angeles, the nation's #2 media market, hasn't had an NFL team since 1995. NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said during his annual state of the game address before the Super Bowl that the league intends to return a team to the Los Angeles area sometime this decade. "It would be wonderful that Brian France would be interested in being a part-owner or owner in the Los Angeles franchise," Johnson said. "He has the money, he has the marketing tools and he lives in L.A. He loves both the NBA and the NFL. So I would see him being an owner in one or the other league. I'd love to work with Brian." France — a grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. who has been credited with increasing the sport's popularity since taking over from his father, Bill France Jr., in 2003 — was not available for comment Thursday. "Brian and Magic have had several conversations," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of NASCAR corporate communications. "Mainly they've talked about diversity in NASCAR, but ... they've talked about a lot of sports. They both like the NFL, but there has not been any specific conversations between the two about acquisition or ownership of an NFL team. Brian is firmly planted as CEO and chairman of NASCAR and is here for the long haul."(USA Today)(3-25-2005)
AND Despite the denials, sources continue to indicate that Brian France’s tenure as leader of NASCAR could be shorter than expected, NFL or not. There is credible word that Jim France, brother of Bill France and vice chairman/exec vp of NASCAR, and Bill France’s daughter, Lesa France Kennedy, are seeking to acquire Brian’s shares in the company. Why this would be done is not clear, and it may have nothing to do with the NFL. Brian France has denied this as well. “I have a huge economic interest in this industry today, and I plan to have for a long time,” he told USA Today in February. Credible sources say any such move by France would not happen soon, calling it “a slow burn.” Indications are that, if all goes as planned, the Frances would wait until after renegotiation of the network television contracts, due for renewal beginning next year. Brian France played an important role in negotiation of the current contracts in 2000.(Speed Channel)(3-26-2005)
- NASCAR Hires former Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign Mgr: NASCAR announced the hiring of Marcus Jadotte to manage NASCAR’s national media outreach efforts. Jadotte will be based in NASCAR’s Daytona Beach headquarters and will be responsible for strategic planning and execution of all media outreach efforts nationally. “Marcus’ experience on the national stage along with his leadership ability is going to be a great asset for all of NASCAR,” said NASCAR Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Hunter. Most recently, Marcus worked for the Kerry-Edwards 2004 Campaign as the Deputy Campaign Manager. Prior to the campaign, Marcus was the Chief of Staff for the United States House of Representatives, Office of Congressman Peter Deutsch. Marcus brings with him over ten years of communications/political experience and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Economics from Florida State University.(NASCAR PR)(3-8-2005)
- NASCAR's Zizzo leaves to work at Texas Motor Speedway: Mike Zizzo has been named Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway. Zizzo is leaving the position of Senior Manager of Communications for NASCAR for the Texas post. Prior to Zizzo's NASCAR and CART experience, he worked for 12 years as a sportswriter for The Orlando Sentinel, covering a variety of major beats, including motorsports, the NFL and NHL. Zizzo, a graduate of Florida Southern College, shifted to public relations in 1996 and received the Jim Chapman Award as the most outstanding public relations representative in the CART racing series. He became the first public relations representative from the sanctioning body to ever receive the prestigious award. As Director of Public Relations for Texas Motor Speedway, Zizzo will work with local, regional and national media covering racing events at Texas Motor Speedway. He will begin his duties in early March.(TMS PR)(2-10-2005)
- Series Managers named for Canada and Mexico: NASCAR has selected tour directors for its Canada and Mexico series. Richard Buck, a former team manager in Winston Cup and CART, will oversee the Canadian operation. Former driver and TV commentator Chad Little will manage the Mexico series.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(2-7-2005)
- Flagman waves last checkered flag at Darlington: NASCAR Nextel Cup flagman, Jimmy Howell, waved the flags for the last time at Darlington Raceway's Final Southern 500. Howell will be taking a job with Bass Pro Shop's Motorsports department. Bass Pro Shops will be Martin Truex Jr.'s full-time Busch car and limited Cup schedule in 2005 and full-time in Nexte Cup in 2006.(MRN Radio race coverage)
UPDATE: Jimmy Howell, who has served as one of the two Nextel Cup Series flagmen for the past seven years, made Sunday's final Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway his final race in that as well. Howell will attend next weekend's season finale at Homestead, Fla., but will not be on teh flag stand. He has accepted a job as director of motorsports for Bass Pro Shops, which will sponsor the 2004 Busch Series champion, Martin Truex Jr., next season. During Sunday's race, the Motor Racing Network radio crew announced Howell's retirement from the position and fans responded with a standing ovation. "It's been a lot of races and a lot of years, a lot of great memories. NASCAR has been great to me and I have nothing but admiration for them," he said. "I'll always be a NASCAR guy," said Howell, who hails from Winston-Salem, NC. "It’s a real good opportunity in my life that at this point I didn't feel like I could pass up. I'll still be involved in NASCAR in many ways. I'll have the best of both worlds."(ThatsRacin.com)(11-14-2004)
- Brett Bodine ~ Pace Car Driver: Brett Bodine, former Winston Cup driver, will be the permanent pace car driver when the Cup cars are running. His day job is in the Research and Development Center as Director of Cost Research. Bodine will not pace the Truck Series or the Busch Series races. They have their own drivers.(Insider Racing News)(10-24-2004)
- Brett Bodine back driving: Former driver Brett Bodine, who joined the staff at NASCAR's research and development facility earlier this year, also has replaced Buster Auton as the Nextel Cup pace car driver. Bodine took over the job in May at Charlotte.(Tampa Tribune)(7-10-2004)
- NASCAR Names New Southeast Series Media Coordinator: Jason Mitchell, of Charlotte, N.C., has joined the NASCAR Public Relations staff as the NASCAR AutoZone Elite Division, Southeast Series media coordinator, effective immediately. Mitchell, a graduate of Appalachian State University, is a former sports writer for the Independent Tribune and the former assistant sports editor for the Wilkes Journal-Patriot. Mitchell has also covered motorsports for RacingOne.com, Racing Milestones, Stock Car Racing magazine, Last Lap magazine and has been a featured guest on several motorsports radio programs. In addition, Mitchell has written three books for the Charlotte Observer, including Tony Stewart: Driven to Win and Young Guns and Living Legends.(6-25-2004
- Pemberton to NASCAR? UPDATE: It has been more than four years since Mike Helton was named NASCAR president and vacated his former role of VP for competition. For some time, Helton has juggled the responsibilities of both jobs, but NASCAR has attempted to recruit someone to serve as a liaison between the competitors and the sanctioning body. Sources tell Sporting News that current Ford field manager Robin Pemberton has been selected for the job. Roger Penske says he was unaware of the situation, but refers to Pemberton as a first-class guy. Pemberton, 47, has 22 career wins as a crew chief and worked with such notables as Richard Petty, Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace.(FoxSports/Sporting News)(6-21-2004)
UPDATE: NASCAR has hired Robin Pemberton. Pemberton was one of stock-car racing's best-known and most respected crew chiefs during his 17 years with drivers such as Rusty Wallace and Mark Martin. Now he has signed on with NASCAR, to take unspecified, but sorely needed, responsibilities helping the beleaguered sanctioning body regain credibility with its competitors, and, it is hoped, its fans. Pemberton has been Ford's NASCAR field manager the past 18 months. Ford officials yesterday said they have begun searching for a replacement. NASCAR discussed just such a management role with Pemberton in late 2002 when he left Petty Enterprises after a year as general manager. But NASCAR at that time was unwilling to offer a competitive salary.(Winston Salem Journal)(6-23-2004)
- NASCAR Changes? NASCAR's R&D operation could be in for some changes in the coming months, according to NASCAR sources, and Brian DeHart, running the Busch tour, could be moving over to that operation. (Winston Salem Journal)(5-3-2004)
- Changes coming, a 'bigger' car UPDATE Bodine Project: During the Speed Channel show Inside Nextel Cup, Gary Nelson, head of NASCAR R&D was interviewed on the 'Hot Seat' and mentioned the 'car of tomorrow' is currently being worked on and tested and hopes are to possibly run it late in the 2005 season. The car will have a larger greenhouse [the upper inside of the car above the 'doors'], have a different areodynamic signature [meaning not as aerodynanic], have a squarer appearance, move the driver over to the right away from the 'drivers-side door' but not in the middle, be safer for the driver and maintain most of the safety features currently being used and that NASCAR does NOT plan to have a 'common engine' as had been rumored.(4-13-2004)
UPDATE: Brett Bodine has a mechanical engineering degree from the State University of New York at Alfred. He will work at NASCAR's research and development center in Concord, N.C., as a special project manager. In addition to working with safety issues, the research and development center is responsible for creating the car of the future - one that incorporates safety, competition and cost. The car will feature a larger greenhouse - the passenger area - to mirror the kind of competition currently displayed on the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. The new car will be less dependent on aerodynamics and will be easier to police since all manufacturers will basically share the same body shapes. Bodine's new job comes at a time of change at NASCAR. Joe Garone, a former crew chief for Bill Elliott, is leaving his job as director of officiating to return to the garage area; vice president Jim Hunter, the company's top spokesman, is being moved to a new position that oversees regional touring and weekly series, and Don Hawk, the former business manager for Dale Earnhardt, is joining NASCAR as the director of regional racing development.(Augusta Chronicle)(4-15-2004)
- Bodine Announcement this week? UPDATE 2: hearing Brett Bodine will be making some sort of an announcement this week concerning his NASCAR future.(4-12-2004)
UPDATE: Fox Sports Net's Totally NASCAR show reports that Bodine will go to work for the NASCAR R^D Center in Concord, NC.
UPDATE 2: The newest member of NASCAR's Research & Development team knows his sport well from behind the wheel. Now, he gets the opportunity to contribute behind the scenes. NASCAR president Mike Helton announced today that veteran driver Brett Bodine has joined NASCAR's R&D staff as special project engineer. Bodine, who holds a degree in mechanical engineering from the State University of New York at Alfred, will tackle several assignments. One project with priority is the "Car of the Future,"
where Bodine will work on cost-saving initiatives. Operating out of NASCAR's Concord, N.C.-based R&D Center, Bodine will work with Gary Nelson, NASCAR's managing director of research and development. A native of Chemung, N.Y., Bodine, 45, competed at NASCAR's highest level for nearly 20 years. He has one win (1990 at North Wilkesboro) and five poles in 480 career NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series starts. His career-high finish of 12th in the point standings also came in 1990. Bodine was a driver/owner from 1996-2003. He became an owner in 1996, buying the renowned #11 team from Junior Johnson prior to that season. His last on-track action came in June, 2003, when he qualified for the June 15 event at Michigan. Prior to 2003, Bodine had been a fulltime NASCAR NEXTEL Cup
Series competitor for 15 consecutive seasons (1988-2003). During his career, he drove for some of NASCAR's most successful owners, including Bud Moore (1988-89), Kenny Bernstein (1990-1994) and Junior Johnson (1995). Bodine's first race in NASCAR's premier series came in 1986 for owner Rick Hendrick (his only start that year). He drove 14 races for Hoss Ellington in 1987 before beginning his fulltime career in 1988. "We're delighted to have Brett on board," Helton said. "He's been such a steadfast member of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series garage over the years, and he's done it all - he's built race cars, he's worked on race cars and he's driven race cars. He brings a new perspective that we're glad to tap into."
Bodine's experience also extends back to the NASCAR Busch Series, where he was the series runner-up in 1986. Before that, he enjoyed success in northeastern modified circles, finishing second in the 1984 track championship at Stafford (Conn.) Motor Speedway, and winning the 1985 Modified Race of Champions at Pocono Raceway. Overall, he has three career victories in the NASCAR Featherlite
Modified Series. In 1998, he was named one of the Top-50 Modified drivers of all time.(NASCAR PR)(4-13-2004)
- NASCAR Reorganizes: NASCAR announced a reorganization designed to increase the emphasis on the sanctioning body's regional touring and weekly competitions, and further develop public relations efforts overall. Jim Hunter, formerly Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been given the new title of Vice President of Corporate Communications/Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Returning to an area where he has worked earlier in his career, Hunter will work closely with new employee Don Hawk, who has been named Director of Regional Racing Development, and Chris Boals, who remains the Director of Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Hunter's return to regional touring and weekly competition duties drew favorable response from short-track operators. In a move that will complement Hunter's increased responsibilities, public relations veteran Ramsey Poston is joining the communications department as the new Managing Director of Consumer and Corporate Communications. Hawk, Boals and Poston all will report to Hunter. Hawk, 48, has been involved in every aspect of short-track racing and is widely known and respected in the motorsports industry. He is a graduate of Philadelphia Biblical University. Hawk is perhaps best known within the industry for his long association with the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. From 1993-2000, Hawk advanced through the ranks of Dale Earnhardt Inc., eventually becoming the organization's president. Prior to joining DEI, Hawk was general business manger for Alan Kulwicki Racing. He continues to handle Kulwicki's estate for the family of the 1992 NASCAR champion who died in a 1993 plane crash. Hawk also is considered one of the pioneers in the NASCAR-related memorabilia business. He will be based at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Poston, 37, comes to NASCAR from Powell Tate, a communication/consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Poston has been a Senior Vice President/Management Supervisor with the firm, where he has worked since 1997. A graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., Poston will assist Hunter in managing the communications department and will especially concentrate on public relations
initiatives in the country's top 20 media markets, and those involving non-traditional media outlets.(NASCAR PR)(4-13-2004)
- Garone leaves NASCAR gig: Joe Garone has left as Director of Officiating for NASCAR and told Claire B. Lang of XM Satellite NASCAR Radio: "It's been a great experience to be on the NASCAR side with such great people but you just can't get the asphalt out of the racer's blood I guess would be the way to say it. I took some time away from
auto-racing as far in the garage area and had a great time at NASCAR to start the research and development center and then move on with the officiating program. I miss being in the garage, I miss the guys, I miss the pit crews, I miss being on the box involved in the game and it just will not go away and I'm going back in the garage and that's where my heart lies. I've decided to resign from NASCAR and make that move."
Garone says he's been really fortunate being involved in so many aspects of the sport and he's not sure whether he'll lean towards a crew chief or team manager position. Garone also told CBL that his view of the sanctioning body changed from the time he was a crew chief
to the time he was the director of officiating: "I have a huge respect for the work that goes into enforcing the letter of the rule book and the work that goes into being equal and fair across the board and I didn't use to have that respect when I was on a team before but I do have it now. Theres no question NASCAR's competition side has been an eye-opening experience as to the effort that's put into it to make sure it's fair across the board."(XM Satellite NASCAR Radio)(4-9-2004)
- Bill France Sr. to be inducted into Hall of Fame:
Bill France Sr., the man who founded NASCAR in 1947 and established the family dynasty that still rules the sport, will be one of eight inductees into the Automotive Hall of Fame in Dearborn, Mich., on Oct. 5. The selections were announced today at the annual International Motor Press Association breakfast in conjunction with the New York International Auto Show. France Sr., who died in 1992, will be inducted along with Don Garlits, Donald Healey, J.R. "Pitt" Hyde, Battista "Pinin" Farina, Heinz Prechter, Eberhard vonKuenheim and Jiro Yanase.(NASCAR Scene Daily Newsletter)(4-8-2004)
- France moves back to Daytona: Location, location, location. Apparently, Brian France is taking his new job seriously. According to the Los Angeles Times, NASCAR's new chairman and CEO sold his Southern California home to move to Florida, near stock-car racing's headquarters. France reportedly received close to his asking price of $12.9 million for the house and six-acre property in a gated Brentwood community of Los Angeles. The 10,800-square foot house, built in 2001, features seven bedrooms, 81/2 bathrooms, an outside living room with a fireplace, and mountain and city views.(Philadelphia Inquirer)(2-25-2004)
- NASCAR Hire: In a move to enhance NASCAR’s business leadership within the motorsports industry, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France announced today the appointment of R. Todd Wilson as Chief Financial Officer. Wilson, who will report directly to France, will serve as NASCAR’s highest ranking financial officer. He will oversee all financial issues affecting the sanctioning body and continue to serve as Chief Financial Officer of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment. Wilson’s most recent responsibilities include serving as the Assistant Treasurer of NASCAR and Chief Financial Officer of NASCAR Broadcasting, NASCAR Digital Entertainment, and NASCAR Images.(NASCAR PR)(2-4-2004)
- Congrats II: NASCAR president Mike Helton was on hand for the ceremony Monday during which the red Winston Cup sign at the main entrance was replaced by a bright-yellow Nextel Cup sign at Lowe's Motor Speedway and was displaying the results of his decision to go on the Atkins diet. “I've lost 75 pounds,” Helton said. “I've got 15 to go.” The svelte Helton was asked whether he has also been running. “I only run when I'm being chased,” he replied.(KC Star), Jayski lost 30 doing a similar diet...lost a lot of bad eating habits.(1-20-2004)
- Surgery for Cup starter UPDATE: been told that NASCAR Nextel Cup Starter Jimmy Howell will undergo two surgeries on December 12 in Winston Salem, NC. The surgery will be performed by Dr. David Martin at Wake Forest Universtiy Baptist Hospital. Howell will have surgery on his left knee to repair a torn meniscus and will also have surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.(12-10-2003)
UPDATE: Howell is recuperating at his home in Winston Salem after undergoing surgery December 12th to repair his left knee and a torn Rotator Cuff in his right shoulder. Howell is doing well after his surgeries and has began rehab at Comp Rehab in Winston Salem, NC.(12-22-2003)
- NASCAR Hire: NASCAR announced that Paul Sparrow has joined its licensing division as director of retail development. Sparrow, who was director of marketing and retail development with the National Football League, will be responsible for developing new retail relationships as well as programs and promotions that sell NASCAR-licensed products to retailers.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(11-4-2003)
- NASCAR Hire: NASCAR has hired Justin Johnson, Major League Baseball's vice president of corporate sales and marketing, today's Sports Business Daily reports. Johnson will join NASCAR as managing director of partnership marketing in the New York office, reporting to Brett Yormark, vice president of corporate marketing.(Winston Cup Scene Daily Newsletter)(10-10-2003)
- Former NASCAR Official to run for Office: Former NASCAR corporate official Kevin Triplett turned his exploratory look at running against Ninth District U.S. Rep. Rick Boucher into an official candidacy on Monday. Triplett traveled from his hometown of Clintwood to Abingdon, Wytheville, Dublin and Christiansburg to announce that he wants to be the 11th Republican to try and unseat the 11-term Democrat in 2004.(Bristol Herald Courier)(9-23-2003)
- NASCAR Personnel News: Richard Glover, a 20-year veteran of broadcasting and media, has joined NASCAR and NASCAR Digital Entertainment as vice president of broadcasting and new media. Glover will manage NASCAR's television, media and entertainment activities out of its Los Angeles office. Most recently, Glover served as executive vice president and managing director, Olympics for ABC/ESPN and The Walt Disney Company where he was responsible for managing all Olympics-related business for ABC, ABC Sports, ESPN and The Walt Disney Company.
AND Paul Brooks has been named senior vice president for NASCAR, reporting directly to NASCAR Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Brian France. Brooks will interface with all NASCAR departments, direct long-term strategic planning while also overseeing special projects and industry relations. In addition, Brooks has been named president of NASCAR Broadcasting and NASCAR Digital Entertainment and will continue his leadership of NASCAR's broadcast, new media and entertainment initiatives. Brooks, who has worked within the sport for over a decade and currently manages NASCAR's Los Angeles office, will return to NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Florida. Brooks started his motorsports career in 1989 working with NASCAR drivers and media outlets. Joining NASCAR in 1993, he has held several key positions within the company and was responsible for developing and managing several of the company's significant marketing, licensing and media initiatives. In 1998, Brooks was named vice president, office of the president, reporting directly to then-president Bill France. Most recently, Brooks has served as vice president of broadcasting for NASCAR and NASCAR Digital Entertainment, managing all broadcasting, new media and entertainment business for NASCAR. Brooks opened NASCAR's Los Angeles office and under his leadership, quickly established close-working relationships throughout the television and entertainment industry that have benefited NASCAR's drivers, teams, tracks and partners.(NASCAR PR)(9-16-2003)
- NASCAR announces additions to PR staff: NASCAR has expanded its public relations staff to include three individuals who bring respected credentials from their previous positions within motorsports. Rick Houston, Denise Maloof and Buz McKim are the newest members of the NASCAR Public Relations Department. Houston is the new Manager of Communications for the NASCAR Busch Series. Until his recent appointment with NASCAR, he spent nearly a decade writing for NASCAR Winston Cup Scene, including the last seven years as the publication's NASCAR Busch Series editor. Houston is also a published author, having written the book, "Second to None: The History of the NASCAR Busch Series."
Maloof, named a Manager of Communications, spent the last year with SI.com where she was the beat writer responsible for all original NASCAR coverage for the dual Sports Illustrated-CNN worldwide website. She was a member of the original start-up staff for the site and also contributed as a writer/package producer for CNN's "Sports Tonight." Maloof also spent over 10 years as a writer for both the Atlanta Journal Constitution and Gwinett Daily News, covering the sports and education beats.
As NASCAR's Coordinator of Statistical Services, McKim will manage NASCAR's Historic Database, which includes the sports' vast historical and statistical archives. McKim, a former racer and car sign-painter who also created artwork for the likes of NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, has been involved in the history of NASCAR for most of his life.(NASCAR PR)(9-13-2003)
- Nextel/NASCAR assignments? Andrew Feit, one of the key men in NASCAR's New York office, is expected to be assigned full-time to NASCAR's Nextel account, and Brett Yormark, the head of that office, could be named 'Marketer of the Year' for his work in closing the $700 million/10-year deal.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- Penske and NASCAR: Greg Penske, Roger's son, could be in line for a top NASCAR job, according to NASCAR sources. Penske is on the ISC board of directors and runs Penske Automotive Group.(Winston Salem Journal)(9-6-2003)
- More on Helton; DEI; and Horish; from Tuesday's Toronto Sun...in part......The NASCAR racing world is buzzing about a rumour that Mike Helton will pack up his job as president of the stock car racing sanctioning body and move his stuff over to Dale Earnhardt Inc. For anyone who follows the ins and outs of NASCAR in general and DEI in particular, Helton taking over the reigns at the Mooresville, N.C., based team makes absolute sense. Since the death of Dale Earnhardt at Daytona in 2001 the family firm has been run by a triumvirate -- Earnhardt's widow, Teresa, racing boss Ty Norris and shop boss Steve Hmiel. The problem is that the three vie for decision-making power, and often it ends up that nothing gets done, or when it gets done it gets done badly. A case in point was the apparent deal offered open-wheel ace Sam Hornish by Norris. Hornish, the two-time defending IRL champ, signed with Team Penske yesterday [Monday]. Norris had made a handshake deal for Hornish to join DEI to replace Jeff Green in 2004. The deal would have been a double win for DEI, as it would have have kept Pennzoil from taking its sponsorship off the #1 team. But according to sources in the garage, Norris failed to pass the deal by Teresa Earnhardt. When she got wind of it, she put the kibosh on it -- not because she didn't think Hornish was a good driver, but because it was not her idea. Now Hornish is telling people the whole thing soured him on ever racing for DEI.
And then there's the Dale Earnhardt Jr. contract dispute. Junior holds Norris in high regard, both as a friend and team boss, but thinks that maybe Hmiel and his stepmother don't realize his value. DEI without Junior is unthinkable but many NASCAR people are saying that Helton may be the only one capable of patching things up between the 28-year-old superstar and the team.
(see full story at the Toronto Sun)(8-27-2003)
- France Daughter taking over? This week's New Yorker [story here] has a lengthy article on NASCAR. The piece itself is fairly routine, but it does have a curious paragraph in which the writer, who spent considerable time with Bill France Jr., hints that Lesa Kennedy, his daughter, could take the helm of the family empire. Kennedy is head of the family's International Speedway Corp.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-23-2003)
- Helton and DEI? UPDATE 4 Denied: There is validity to the long-running reports that NASCAR president Mike Helton's name is once again in the hat to take over Dale Earnhardt Inc., according to top NASCAR sources. Owner Teresa Earnhardt has asked Helton to take over running the company built by the late six-time [um..actually 7 time] Winston Cup champion, according to sources. It is unclear how interested Helton might be in such a position or how such a move might change the power structure inside the stock-car racing sanctioning body.(Winston Salem Journal)(8-5-2003)
UPDATE: a source tells me that the Helton/DEI deal is done and that Helton will leave NASCAR and become a part-owner and the new President of DEI. Seems unlikely to me, however.(8-21-2003)
UPDATE 2: being told to expect an announcement in December 2003; possible replacements [if it happens]? Brian France, George Pyne, Greg Penske.AND been told that the rumor has been denied by Helton.(8-22-2003)
UPDATE 3: During his interview on Speed Channel's Wind Tunnel with Dave Despian, Mike Helton wouldn't comment on the unsubstatiated rumor that he would leave NASCAR for DEI.(8-22-2003)
UPDATE 4: The rumor persisted at Michigan International Speedway: NASCAR president Mike Helton will leave the race series to run Dale Earnhardt Inc. So Mike, any interest in replacing Ty Norris at DEI? “I’m flattered, though I’m not sure Teresa [Earnhardt, Dale’s widow] likes hearing the rumors out there,” Helton told AutoWeek. “I’m happy doing what I’m doing now. As long as Mr. France wants me, I’ll be here.”(Autoweek)
AND NASCAR president Mike Helton on Thursday denied rumors that he's leaving NASCAR to run Dale Earnhardt Inc. DEI was founded by the late Dale Earnhardt and is now run by his widow, Teresa. The company fields the Winston Cup cars driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., Michael Waltrip and Jeff Green. "With all respect to Dale and Teresa and her organization, I'm very content with where I'm at," Helton said. "As long as Bill France and Jim France and the family will keep me there, I hope to stay there." The France family owns NASCAR. Helton, a close friend of the Earnhardt family for years, said the rumor may be fueled by the respect he has for the Earnhardt family and their organization. "But those rumors are out of order and not accurate," he said, adding that he and Teresa Earnhardt "possibly have had light-hearted conversations" about him coming to DEI. "If I were inclined to leave NASCAR voluntarily, which I am not, and was going to stay in motorsports, I would be honored to work for Teresa and that organization and Dale Jr.," he said. "I would be flattered to be considered, but the biggest issue is I have no desire to leave NASCAR." He also said he didn't know of any effort to oust him from his current job. "I don't put a lot of time or worry into rumors," he said.(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
AND from NASCAR.com: Contrary to recent published reports, Mike Helton has not been offered a position at Dale Earnhardt, Inc., and has no intention of stepping down as NASCAR president, Helton told NASCAR.com Friday. "I have no desire to leave NASCAR. I have not been offered a job by Teresa (Earnhardt) at DEI," said Helton, resting comfortably on a sofa in the principal's office of the big red truck. "I'm flattered that somebody out there thinks she would even offer me the job, but I'm happy at NASCAR and plan on staying at NASCAR throughout my career. I'm very thankful to Bill France and Jim France and their whole families for having faith in me to give me the responsibility they've given me and I have no intentions of leaving NASCAR."(NASCAR.com)(8-22-2003)
FROM Wind Tunnel Mike Helton's description is accurate: the rumor of his impending move to D.E.I. is unsubstantiated. No source for that information has been named. That said, Jayski's website has earned a reputation for the remarkable accuracy of the unsubstantiated rumors it spreads, and Jayski said it's a done deal. Here's "My Take.".......see the full column at Speed Channel: "My Take" on Mike Helton and DEI by Dave Despain.(8-23-2003)
- Last Race For Triplett: Sunday's was Kevin Triplett's last race as NASCAR's managing director of business operations. He announced earlier this season he was leaving to become a consultant and perhaps make a run for public office in Virginia.(ThatsRacin.com) - Good Luck and Thanks (6-2-2003)
- Triplett resigns from NASCAR front office UPDATE: NASCAR managing director of business operations Kevin Triplett has resigned his position, effective in June, to move back home to Virginia and pursue other options, NASCAR vice president for corporate communications Jim Hunter told NASCAR.com Thursday. During his decade-long tenure with the sanctioning body, Triplett has held many positions and is well respected in the industry. Triplett joined NASCAR in 1994 and spent three years as NASCAR Winston Cup Series media coordinator. In 1997, he was promoted to director of operations, and spent nearly four years in that role before receiving yet another promotion in October 2001, at which time he was elevated to managing director of business operations. In that role, Triplett oversaw schedules, sanctions, credentials, timing and scoring procedures, plan development, point fund management and personnel, as well as all other business aspects of the Winston Cup, Busch and Craftsman Truck Series A career in politics could be one of Triplett's future plans. Triplett's decision to step away shocked some, and could be the first of many high-profile moves in NASCAR's rumored restructuring process. Inside sources say NASCAR is in the process of placing several key personnel in different roles to best suit their strong points. Among the candidates rumored to collectively assume Triplett's responsibilities are NASCAR director of series marketing Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR director of administration George Silbermann -- who also serves as chairman of the National Stock Car Racing Commission -- Joe Garone, director of NASCAR's research and development center, and Gary Smith, Craftsman Truck Series manager.(NASCAR.com)
UPDATE: been told that Steve O'Donnell will become the Director of Business Operations, overseeing various areas such as marketing and promotion reviews, sponsor approvals and other business aspects of the Competition Department including credentialing and registration, schedules, point fund and purse management, etc.
Gary Smith will become Director of Event Logistics and relocate to the Concord, NC Research and Development Center to oversee security,
medical liaison program, track event prep and budget management.
Jim Cassidy's role as Administrative Operations Manager will expand to include working with Wayne Auton in overseeing day to day operations as well as events of the Craftsman Truck Series.
Joe Garone will become the Director of Officiating.(3-14-2003)
- New President/CEO: Jay Abraham has been named president and CEO of NASCAR Images, the video and film production and creative marketing joint venture between NASCAR Digital Entertainment and FOX Sports Ventures. Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting, NASCAR, and Larry Jones, chief operating officer, FOX Sports, made the announcement jointly today.. Abraham was formerly vice president of business development for HJ Heinz Company. He replaces Tom Grabowski who stepped down on November 15, 2001, to pursue expanded opportunities with Urban Sports, a company he recently founded. Abraham will be responsible for overseeing the strategic planning and day-to-day operations of NASCAR Images original programming, television production and corporate business development for NASCAR sponsors, teams, tracks and broadcast partners, in addition to the establishment and growth of home video production and distribution for NASCAR-related entertainment. NASCAR Images, located in Charlotte, N.C., is an original programming, video and film production, post-production and creative marketing company serving corporate sponsors, marketers and advertisers, as well as NASCAR.s drivers, teams, tracks and television partners. Currently NASCAR Images produces NASCAR This Morning and NASCAR Tech for Fox Sports Net and Inside Winston Cup for SPEED Channel.(NASCAR PR)(1-22-2002)
- Doctor, Doctor: NASCAR is in the process of hiring "three or four doctors," all specialists in trauma and emergency medicine, to care for drivers at Winston Cup races, NASCAR President Jim Hunter said Friday. In what Hunter called "a major philosophical change," NASCAR also will hire at least four engineers to work at its new research-and-development center near Conover, N.C. "Safety is going to be the primary focus of the R&D center," he said. NASCAR stopped short of creating a full-fledged, highly specialized, traveling medical and emergency team, such as those employed by all other major motor racing series in the world. Pressed on that issue, Hunter said, "You got your HANS," meaning NASCAR's mandate Wednesday of head-and-neck restraints for drivers.(Orlando Sentinel)(10-20-2001)
- NASCAR Changes: NASCAR announced a restructuring and expansion of its Competition Department, with special emphasis on NASCAR.s new Research and Development Center in Hickory, N.C. These changes are aimed at facilitating further advancement in the areas of research, development and race-site management involved in America.s fastest-growing sport. As part of this restructuring, several longtime NASCAR officials are moving into new positions, assuming new and/or additional responsibilities.
Gary Nelson, formerly NASCAR Winston Cup Series Director, has been named Managing Director of Competition.. Nelson will be responsible for on-track race activities, rules and off-track research and development programs.. He primarily will be based at the Research and Development Center.
Kevin Triplett, formerly NASCAR Director of Operations, has been named Managing Director of Business Operations.. Triplett will be responsible for schedules, sanctions, credentials, timing and scoring procedures, plan development, point fund management and all other business aspects of NASCAR.s three national divisions (Cup, BGN, CTS).
John Darby, formerly the BGN Series Director, will replace Nelson as Winston Cup Series Director, overseeing all competitive aspects-including technical inspections, rules changes and rules enforcement-on the Winston Cup Series.
Brian DeHart, formerly a Technical Inspector on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series and Busch Grand National Series, will replace Darby as Busch Grand National Series Director. DeHart will oversee all competitive aspects of the Busch Grand National Series.
Wayne Auton, Director of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series since June 1995, is continuing in that position.
Joe Garone, a longtime crew chief in various NASCAR divisions, including Winston Cup, has been named the Research and Development Center Director.
All of these individuals will report to NASCAR President Mike Helton and NASCAR. Senior Vice President George Pyne.(NASCAR PR)(10-19-2001)
- NASCAR Personnel Moves in the future? UPDATE 4 - Nelson and Darby: Gary Nelson may indeed have other duties in the organization by next year, NASCAR officials say. Nelson was rumored last fall to be on the way out, but NASCAR President Mike Helton insisted in December that Nelson would stay in place for the time being. Darlington Speedway's John Hunter said Friday, however, that Nelson's duties would change and perhaps expand, possibly by the end of this year, noting that Nelson would remain with the company in some unspecified capacity. Asked about successors, Hunter agreed that present BGN director John Darby is a likely candidate, and that others not currently in NASCAR, or in NASCAR garage roles, also are on the radar(SpeedVision)(1-13-2001)
UPDATE: Gary Nelson's duties could pass to subordinates Buster Auton and Brian DeHart as the season goes on. NASCAR is developing a research facility in Dale Jarrett's old Busch shop in Conover/Hickory, N.C., and it appears likely that Nelson is being pointed in that direction. SpeedVision hear conflicting reports on Busch Series director John Darby, a) that he would be offered Nelson's job for 2002 and would take it, and b) that he would be offered Nelson's job and turn it down, preferring his present role(SpeedVision)(3-19-2001)
UPDATE 2: Circle Racing Online's NASCAR sources say the current garage talk about the future of Gary Nelson as Winston Cup Series Director is heating up, yet again. We first got a rippling of a possible "promotion up and out" for Nelson at last year's Phoenix Winston Cup race. Supposedly, his days were numbered until February of 2001. Well, it's at tribute to his staying power (or the general infidelity of vile garage talk rumors) that it's months later and Nelson still stands at the highest position in the Competition section of NASCAR's staff. But that was before Dale Earnhardt's death at this year's Daytona 500. The resulting public relations debacle for NASCAR has lately revived talk of Nelson's movement to a different position. The latest "best-case" version is that Nelson may head up NASCAR's new safety R&D facility in Hickory, NC, and that other BGN Director John Darby will move up to take his place. Darby's vacant BGN position would then be filled by current CTS Director Wayne Auton(Circle Racing Online)(5-15-2001)
UPDATE 3: Rumor has it that Busch Series director John Darby is in line to replace current Winston Cup director Gary Nelson at the end of the 2001 season. Nelson, who took the director's job ten years ago, is expected to move to NASCAR's research and development department in Hickory, N.C. Before taking the director's job, Nelson was a top-notch crew chief, winning 21 Winston Cup races in 258 starts. Even though the change is effective at the end of the season, the official announcement is expected before then.(NASCAR.com Buzz)(9-1-2001)
UPDATE 4: Winston Cup Series director Gary Nelson will leave that job at the end of the 2001 season to head up NASCAR's new research and development facility in Conover, NC. John Darby, currently director of the BGN series, will replace Nelson in the Cup series. Brian DeHart, who has been one of Nelson's top assistants in the Cup series, will replace Darby as Grand National series director beginning with the 2002 season. Nelson's departure from the job as the "top cop" in the Winston Cup series has been the subject of rumors for more than a year. The time has apparently come, however, since word is already going out among teams in the BGN garage area that Darby will be moving up from that series to Cup(That's Racin')(9-22-2001)
- NASCAR News: NASCAR officials announced today former Darlington Raceway President James H. (Jim) Hunter has
been named Vice President of Corporate Communications for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Hunter assumed his new duties this week, along with three additional new members of NASCAR's communications team. Robert M. Copeland, a public relations strategist for the past 25 years, joins NASCAR as its managing director of public relations. Former Director of Communications for the House Budget Committee, Bill Greene, is coming on board as NASCAR Busch Series, Grand National Division public relations manager. Former Tampa Tribune Assistant Sports Editor Herbert Branham will join Danielle Humphrey on the NASCAR Winston Cup Series. John Griffin, who has headed NASCAR's public relations department for the past six years, will continue to work on special communications projects, including business marketing and television initiatives(NASCAR PR)(7-19-2001)
- NASCAR PR Hire: Bill Greene, presently the director of communications for the House Budget Committee in Washington, DC, will join NASCAR's public relations department at the home office in Daytona Beach. Greene will apparently report to NASCAR veteran Jim Hunter, former president of Darlington Raceway, who is being brought in to rebuild the NASCAR public relations staff. The well-regarded Hunter is expected to add credibility to NASCAR's communications efforts. At least one high-level NASCAR public relations job remains unfilled, but a hire is expected to be named shortly(SpeedVision)(7-3-2001)
- NASCAR Personnel: Hearing that Exide's former Director of Racing PR, Chris Dirato, has removed himself from consideration for one of the two media relations jobs which NASCAR is looking to fill for its Winston Cup Series. Apparently, the agency he works for, Kermish-Geylin Public Relations, recently landed a high-profile account in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series -- the United States Army-sponsored Top Fuel dragster with driver Tony Schumacher -- and he now oversees that program(6-21-2001)
- NASCAR hire: NASCAR, which in November opened a Los Angeles office with the focus being on broadcasting and new media, today announced that Jeffrey Pollack - the founder and first publisher of The Sports Business Daily - has joined the sanctioning body as managing director of new media. In his new role with NASCAR, Pollack will provide day-to-day management of NASCAR's new media business initiatives and business development for new technologies and interactive opportunities as well as NASCAR.com. Previously, Pollack was with the National Basketball Association, where he was responsible for helping devise and manage the NBA's global branding, marketing, and promotional strategies, and for directing the league's corporate communications(NASCAR PR)(5-16-2001)
- Former NASCAR Official Joins Sports Car Ranks: Veteran motorsports executive Dennis Huth has joined the Panoz Motor Sports Group in a newly-created dual role that will include becoming President of Professional Sports Car Racing, Inc., as well as involvement in the Trans-Am Series. Huth, who was a key executive at NASCAR during its explosive growth in the 90s, will execute day to day operations of SPORTS CAR, the sanctioning body for the American Le Mans Series and several other road racing series. Professional Sports Car Racing, Inc., located in Clearwater, Fla., is the premier sanctioning body for sports car racing in North America. Huth was an executive with NASCAR for nearly 20 years, most recentlyserving as Vice-President of Touring Series and International
Development until early 2000. He helped to launch the successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 1995 and the NASCAR Northwest Tour in 1987. In addition, he helped spearhead the growth of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series, bringing many weekly race tracks under NASCAR sanction. He started with the organization as Northwest Field Manager in 1982. Prior to joining NASCAR, Huth operated weekly race tracks, including tracks in Portland and Medford, Ore., and several in California(American Le Mans Series PR)(5-14-2001)
- Flagman ok: hearing that NASCAR Winston Cup Chief Starter Jimmy Howell was absent from the flagstand on Sunday at Texas as he spent Friday and Saturday in the hospital having test run. BGN Chief Starter Matt Abernathy took Howell's place on Sunday. Howell plans to be back in the stand Sunday at Martinsville. Howell and Rodney Wise rotate week to week, so it was Wise's turn to flag on Sunday(4-3-2001)
- NASCAR Personnel Moves in the future? UPDATE 2 new Darlington President: a NASCAR shakeup appears in the works, with Darlington's Jim Hunter expected to get a promotion to NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters, and with NASCAR's Tom Deery being reassigned, according to NASCAR sources(Winston Salem Journal)
AND Gary Nelson's duties could pass to subordinates Buster Auton and Brian DeHart as the season goes on. NASCAR is developing a research facility in Dale Jarrett's old Busch shop in Conover/Hickory, N.C., and it appears likely that Nelson is being pointed in that direction. SpeedVision hear conflicting reports on Busch Series director John Darby, a) that he would be offered Nelson's job for 2002 and would take it, and b) that he would be offered Nelson's job and turn it down, preferring his present role(SpeedVision)(3-19-2001)
UPDATE: Darlington Raceway and International Speedway Corporation are expected to announce later this week that Andrew Gurtis will be the track's new president. Jim Hunter, current president of NASCAR's original superspeedway, will be promoted to a position within NASCAR. He will continue to oversee Darlington Raceway, North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond International Raceway. He will continue to reside in Darlington.(Lap by Lap)
UPDATE 2: Andrew Gurtis, who has served as vice president of Daytona International Speedway the past four years, is the new president of Darlington Raceway. Gurtis replaces Jim Hunter, who has served as president of the International Speedway Corp.-owned facility since 1992. As president, Gurtis will be responsible for overseeing all strategic and daily operations at Darlington. He assumes his duties later this month. Gurtis will report to Hunter, who will remain with ISC in his current position as vice president and continue his duties as regional director of the company's Atlantic division, overseeing Darlington, North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham, N.C., and Richmond International Raceway(That's Racin'/DIS PR)(3-20-2001)
- Nelson News: Gary Nelson may indeed have other duties in the organization by next year, NASCAR officials say. Nelson was rumored last fall to be on the way out, but NASCAR President Mike Helton insisted in December that Nelson would stay in place for the time being. Darlington Speedway's John Hunter said Friday, however, that Nelson's duties would change and perhaps expand, possibly by the end of this year, noting that Nelson would remain with the company in some unspecified capacity. Asked about successors, Hunter agreed that present BGN director John Darby is a likely candidate, and that others not currently in NASCAR, or in NASCAR garage roles, also are on the radar(SpeedVision)(1-13-2001)
- Major NASCAR Announcement - UPDATE - Helton now President: Questions about a possible shakeup in NASCAR's hierarchy could be answered Tuesday in a national teleconference scheduled to feature Bill France Jr., the president of stock-car racing's sanctioning body. France, whose day-to-day role with the organization his father founded in 1949 has been reduced this year because of his treatment for cancer, is scheduled to participate with other NASCAR executives in a national teleconference Tuesday at 2:00pm/et to make "a major news announcement."(That's Racin' and Kingsport Times News)
UPDATE: Bill France, who assumed the president's role at NASCAR in January 1972, becoming only the second president of the sanctioning body, today announced that Mike Helton, who has served as senior vice president and chief operating officer since 1999, will assume the role of president for NASCAR effective immediately. France will serve as chairman of a newly formed five-member board of directors for NASCAR that will oversee the following executive management structure:
* Board of Directors: A board of directors that will consist of Bill France, Jim France, Brian France, Lesa Kennedy and Mike Helton has been formed and will be responsible for developing policy and vision for the sport.
* President: Mike Helton, who joined the sanctioning body in 1994 as vice president of competition before assuming the COO position, will assume the title of president. He will be charged with executing the policies and visions developed by the board and will have day-to-day responsibilities for all aspects of the sanctioning body.
* Executive Vice Presidents: Jim France will continue to serve as executive vice president and secretary for the sanctioning body with Brian France, who has served as senior vice president, also assuming the title of executive vice president.
* Senior Vice President: George Pyne, who has been directing the sanctioning body's marketing and licensing efforts while working out of NASCAR's Charlotte office will be relocating to Daytona Beach to assume his new duties as senior vice president. Pyne will have day-to-day operational responsibilities for each of NASCAR's
departments and he will report to and execute Helton's direction.
Enhancing its depth, NASCAR also has a team of vice presidents whose roles are very specific and specialized. They
include, Ed Bennett, recently promoted to vice president of corporate administration and who is based out of NASCAR's Daytona Beach headquarters; Steve Boguski, recently named vice president of strategic marketing with responsibility of directing the Charlotte office; Paul Brooks, vice president of broadcasting who has relocated to Southern California to direct NASCAR's newly opened Los Angeles office; Tom Deery, who is based in Daytona Beach and as vice president is responsible for NASCAR's weekly and touring racing series; and Brett Yormark, who directs NASCAR's New York office and recently assumed the title of vice president of corporate marketing.(NASCAR PR/NOL and listen to the broadcast at NOL and a story at That's Racin')(11-28-2000)
- Nelson to Stay UPDATE: NASCAR officials adamantly deny widespread rumors and published reports that Winston Cup Director Gary Nelson may be reassigned to a different role next season. Rumors have spread about Nelson for the last few weeks, prompting media reports that he is either planning to step down as Winston Cup director or will be reassigned by NASCAR. Despite denials from both Nelson and NASCAR Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Helton, the talk about a major shakeup in NASCAR's competition department intensified during the Winston Cup season finale at Atlanta(Winston Cup Scene)(11-23-2000)
UPDATE: New NASACR President Mike Helton put one rumor to rest at the News Confernce on Tuesday: Gary Nelson, thought to be on shaky ground as Winston Cup director, will remain in that job(Daily Press)(11-29-2000)
- Hunter and NASCAR? Jim Hunter, a veteran NASCAR official, after several years at Darlington, is being pressed into a much more high-profile role, lately as head of the France family's Darlington, Rockingham and Richmond tracks, next perhaps as new head of the NASCAR's public-relations operation(PitNow)(9-5-2000)
- Jim France Conversation: Jim France, president of International Speedway Corporation and executive secretary of NASCAR, is younger brother of NASCAR president Bill France Jr. Widely seen as his brother's equal in authority and ability, he has worked largely out of the eye of the general public, occupied as he is more with ISC than with NASCAR issues. Lately, however, Jim has taken a much more visible role at the races, appearing at the past four events as a hands-on participant, raising speculation that Jim may be stepping into Bill's shoes during Bill's battle with cancer. Jim France agreed to talk with SpeedVision's Ben Blake on Sunday morning, before the Pepsi 400 at Michigan Speedway. Read the interview at SpeedVision(8-21-2000)
- NASCAR PR Hire: Danielle Humphrey was named Tuesday as NASCAR’s new manager of communications, as the public relations department underwent a slight re-tooling. Matt Friedmann also joined the outfit Tuesday as coordinator of communications, and will handle advance publicity for the CTS. The PR staff saw several promotions as well, as John Griffin became managing director of communications, Kelly Malone ascended to director of communications – a spot vacated by Tim Sullivan during the ‘Article Four’ credentials flap – and Jaye Galloway was named manager of broadcast communications(SpeedVision)(2-9-2000)
- NASCAR Hire: NASCAR announced that it had hired Arny Schreer as director of corporate marketing, and had promoted Andrew Feit to senior manager of the same program. Schreer joins NASCAR after serving with the New Jersey Nets of the NBA(SpeedVision)(2-4-2000)
- RJR Changes: Cliff Pennell, who took over as president of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company's sports marketing division after the death of T. Wayne Robertson in 1998, is leaving the company. Pennell turned over the reins at Sports Marketing Enterprises to Rick Sanders in July. Sanders has been promoted to senior vice president of marketing for RJR but will continue to serve as president of SME, the division that handles the Winston brand's NASCAR sponsorships. Pennell, 42, who will leave his current post as senior vice president of marketing at the end of the year, will start his own consulting business(That's Racin')(12-18-1999)