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Volume 20 No. 42
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NASCAR hires five midlevel executives for its revamped communications division

NASCAR continues to bolster its communications operations, adding five midlevel managers to its recently created integrated marketing communications division.

The hires address areas where NASCAR hopes to improve its marketing efforts, such as among youths and Hispanics. They are the latest in a series of additions to the communications team, which will expand from 33 last year to 47 by the end of 2011.

Three of the hires are in the competition communications group, which manages public relations at the track for integrated marketing communications. Estefania Acosta-Rubio, who is fluent in Spanish, joins the organization from the ATP; Matt Nordby joins from the Pittsburgh Pirates; and Jennie Long joins from Hunter Public Relations in New York City, where she developed digital strategy for clients such as Hasbro.

In addition to those hires, NASCAR added Nick Kelly to its business communications team and Becky Williams to its sports services group, which does writing and editing across all of integrated marketing communications.

“These were the key midlevel hires we were looking for to strengthen competition and business communications,” said David Higdon, managing director of integrated marketing communications. “What we want to do is get the team in good shape by the end of the season so that they’re able to spend time around the product and key people. That will allow us to hit the ground running pretty hard in January.”

Higdon said NASCAR is still looking to fill key positions: director of social and digital media and director of brand consumer marketing. He anticipates having those hires made by the end of the year, as well as four or five more midlevel manager hires. But he said it will take time before the division is operating as envisioned, with members of the communications team embedded in other departments and working to strengthen NASCAR’s communications efforts both inside the sanctioning body and with the sport’s teams, tracks and sponsors.

“Ultimately, we know there’s still a lot of ground to cover,” Higdon said.