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Volume 20 No. 42
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NASCAR taps former GM exec as COO

NASCAR CEO Brian France expects the company’s new chief operating officer, Brent Dewar, to accelerate the sport’s efforts to attract new fans and boost its push to get the sanctioning body, teams and tracks working together on initiatives that improve the sport.

Dewar worked for General Motors for more than 30 years.
Photo by: NASCAR
Dewar, who worked for General Motors for more than 30 years, is the first COO at NASCAR since George Pyne left the organization in 2006.

“This is a guy that can accelerate all the things we’re doing and instantly have the credibility with car owners and track operators who worked with him in his GM days,” France said during an interview last week. “He has the whole package and can make a big contribution. When someone is available like that, you find a way to fit him in.”

Dewar will report to France and oversee the commercial side of NASCAR. Chief Marketing Officer Steve Phelps; Eric Nyquist, vice president of strategic development; and Steve Herbst, vice president of broadcasting and production, will report to Dewar. Chief Sales Officer Jim O’Connell and Chief Communications Officer Brett Jewkes will continue to report to Phelps.

NASCAR President Mike Helton will continue to oversee the racing and competition side of the business, and Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president of racing operations, will report to him.

In his role as COO, Dewar will be responsible for implementing NASCAR’s industry action plan, a marketing plan designed to develop new fans for the sport. France said he’ll also work with Helton and O’Donnell on making changes to the competition division. Dewar spent this year working as a consultant alongside McKinsey & Co. on an effort to modernize that group by overhauling NASCAR’s rules-making process, officiating system and penalty and appeals processes.

“He’ll have a big role in making sure that goes as planned and faster than possible,” France said.

France said his senior leadership team will remain the same. Dewar will join Helton, Phelps, Nyquist, Jewkes, O’Donnell and others in helping France make decisions about the future of the sport.

“The way to look at it is that it’s not an operational shift,” France said. “It gives the industry a seasoned player. No matter what it is, the industry will benefit from this hire more than most hires we make. This is a guy who will play a lot of roles and who will crisscross the industry in significant ways, and has the credibility to do that.”

Dewar will start work Jan. 6 and plans to relocate to Daytona Beach, Fla., where NASCAR is headquartered. In addition to naming Dewar COO, NASCAR announced it had promoted Phelps from senior vice president and CMO to executive vice president, O’Donnell from senior vice president of racing operations to executive vice president, and general counsel Gary Crotty to chief legal officer.