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Volume 22 No. 39
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Lencheski named vice chairman/CEO of IHRA parent company

Veteran sports executive Chris Lencheski is returning to his motorsports roots to become vice chairman and CEO of IRG Sports & Entertainment.

Lencheski will oversee IRGSE’s motorsports portfolio, which encompasses more than 1,150 events a year through the International Hot Rod Association and the International Drag Bike League sanctioning bodies, and facilities that include the Palm Beach International Raceway, Memphis International Raceway, Maryland International Raceway and Cordova International Raceway tracks.

Chris Lencheski
Lencheski said he was attracted to the job because of the growth potential for the drag racing circuit, and because of ownership’s deep pockets. Parent company TPG, a global private investment firm, has $75 billion in assets under management.

“The only other sanctioning body I know owned by a hedge fund is Formula One, so that’s good company,” Lencheski said. “I really believe that drag racing is the perfect sport for millennials and Generation Z to enjoy on their iWatches. We need the IHRA to stand apart, so we’re looking at a complete rebrand of our top [Nitro Jam] class within a few years,” he said.

Lencheski, represented by Proskauer while negotiating his new position, noted the IHRA’s strength in Canada and its overseas potential.

“You’ll see a global format from us eventually, and my job over the next 100 days is to start us down that road,” he said.

The NHRA is drag racing’s top circuit, with about two dozen top-level events. The IHRA has fewer than half that many top-level events.

Most recently, Lencheski was president of the Comcast Spectacor-owned Front Row Marketing property sales and analytics unit. Before that, he was founder and CEO of Ski & Co., the agency of record for General Motors Racing. Lencheski has owned teams in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide series, and was owner of the IHL Quad City Mallards. He will remain a senior adviser to the management and board of MP & Silva.