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Volume 21 No. 34
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Game Changers: Jill Gregory

Gregory, with nephews (from left) Tate, Blake and Reid Hall, would like to manage an overseas event.
Jill Gregory
VP, Industry Services

Jill Gregory left her home state of California in 2003 to take a job working on Nextel’s new NASCAR sponsorship. She hasn’t turned back since. The woman who at the time knew little about racing has become one of the most important executives in the sport. She played a critical role in guiding Nextel as it converted the Winston Cup into the Nextel (now Sprint) Cup. She later joined the sanctioning body in a pioneering role overseeing its industry marketing department. At the request of NASCAR chief marketer Steve Phelps, Gregory has worked to transform the industry marketing division into one that works more closely with the sport’s various constituencies. She started by trying to gain the trust and support of teams, then expanded to tracks, and soon will add a group that will support drivers. The division’s primary purpose is to give each group research to assist its sales efforts, along with sponsorship leads and marketing resources. The result has been gains for the individual groups but also for NASCAR as a whole.

— Tripp Mickle
  • First job: Retail employee in the pro shop at a tennis club in Modesto, Calif.
  • Crowning professional achievement: The transition of Winston Cup to Nextel Cup.
  • Biggest professional disappointment: I have managed or worked on many major sporting events … but all have been here in the U.S. I haven’t enjoyed the experience of being immersed in an event overseas, from an inside perspective, and if I had a career miss, that would be it.
  • Woman in sports business you’d most like to meet: Robin Roberts. I have heard her speak several times and have been very impressed, but have never had the opportunity to meet her.
  • The biggest challenge I face working in the sports business is …: Time management.
  • One attribute I look for when hiring is …: Attention to detail.
  • Ten years from now, I hope to be …: Owning and running a winery in California.


“She’s always had a good grasp of the sponsor issues and what a sponsor expects, but she’s worked hard to understand the team dynamics and the dynamics inside NASCAR. It’s made it easier for us to surface issues of concern and for them to communicate more effectively with the teams.”

  • Ben Schlosser, chief marketing officer, Richard Childress Racing