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Volume 21 No. 1
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Forty Under 40

Tony Stewart calls Brett Frood his lottery ticket.

At a time when most of his peers at Harvard Business School were taking jobs in finance, Frood in 2004 opted to take a job as Stewart’s business manager, overseeing Stewart’s open-wheel teams, Eldora Speedway ownership, public relations firm and food and merchandise businesses.

It was an unusual step for someone who knew nothing about NASCAR, but Frood wanted to be in sports.

“Racing was not necessarily on the target list,” Frood said. “I’ve always been a stick-and-ball fan. I would have been happy working for the NFL, NHL or a Major League Baseball team, but the opportunity presented itself with Tony and it was too good to pass up.”

Frood learned the racing business quickly and became the architect of one of the signature agreements in recent NASCAR business history. In 2008, he helped negotiate a deal with Gene Haas, a wealthy businessman and NASCAR team owner, that gave Stewart a 50 percent stake in Haas’ Sprint Cup team and considerable control over the team’s operations.

The team has made major waves in the sport both on and off the track ever since. Last year, it became the first team not owned by Rick Hendrick, Jack Roush or Joe Gibbs to win the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. It also signed one of the few new team sponsors in the sport, Quicken Loans, to a nine-race deal and closed an agreement with Danica Patrick that will allow the team to add another car and one of racing’s most popular drivers in the coming years.

Frood, who manages the team’s business while continuing to manage the rest of Stewart’s business interests, was central to it all.

“Brett’s made all the right moves,” said Cary Agajanian, the founder of Motorsports Management International and the person who hired Frood. “Tony calls him his lottery ticket, and it’s true in a lot of ways. He’s on top of everything Tony does.”

Age: 37
Title: Executive vice president
TEAM: Stewart-Haas Racing
Education: Brown University; Harvard Business School
Family: Wife, Robin; children Cole (6), Quinn (4) and Charlotte (9 months)
Career: Finance/equity capital markets to graduate school to racing industry
FIRST JOB: Lifeguarding
Last vacation: Family — Disney World; sans kids — Super Bowl in Indy
what's on your ipod? Rolling Stones, AC/DC
Guilty pleasure: Potato chips with French onion dip
Best stress release: Workout and steam room
Pet peeve: People who try to exit an airplane before everyone seated in front of them
Fantasy job: GM of the New York Yankees
WHAT KEEPS YOU AWAKE AT NIGHT: One of the three kids … or Tony Stewart
Business advice: Be sure you are spending as much time cultivating a positive internal culture as you are on external executions.