SBJ/March 6 - 12, 2006/This Weeks News

Dirt Motorsports adds 3 from NASCAR’s world

Dirt Motorsports, the largest sanctioning body for sprint, late model and modified dirt-track racing in the United States, has added three executives with NASCAR ties to the company as it works to consolidate and maximize dirt-track racing.

The additions give dirt-track racing a chance to
advance in marketing and broadcasting.
Tom Deery, NASCAR’s former vice president of its touring and weekly racing series, joins the company as president. Deery will be moving from Rand Sports and Entertainment Insurance, where since 2003 he has held the title of senior vice president of motorsports.

Rob Butcher, formerly International Speedway Corp.’s senior director of marketing partnership and integrated media, also joins Dirt as executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

Ben Geisler rounds out Dirt’s new management team and now holds the title of executive vice president of operations. Geisler, Next Marketing’s senior vice president, was responsible for managing or placing more than $100 million in sponsorship and activation funding during his five-plus years at Atlanta-based Next.

Dirt-track racing largely falls under the mainstream sports industry radar, but bringing on Deery, Butcher and Geisler, who have NASCAR experience on the sanctioning body, track operation and agency sides, respectively, gives the company the opportunity to advance the sport on the marketing, broadcast and sponsorship fronts.

The management change is on par with chairman and CEO Paul Kruger’s plan to streamline operations at the dirt-racing company. Since purchasing the World of Outlaws in 2003, Dirt has worked to consolidate the dirt-racing industry and make it a more mainstream property with consistent branding and clear organization.

Dirt Motorsports now operates the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, the World of Outlaws Late Model Series and the Advance Auto Parts Modified Super Dirt Series, among others. The company sanctions some 3,000 events per year.

“There’s a lot of interest in the corporate world in dirt racing,” Geisler said. “But no one knows how to tap into it. … We want to take all the dirt-racing assets and mold them into one.”

Currently, various Dirt-sanctioned events are shown on the Outdoor Channel and on Speed, and Deery said he is exploring television options for 2007 and beyond. Norman, Okla.-based Dirt has 70 employees and is projecting revenue of $25 million this year.

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