NASCAR leadership changes continue as Dewar sets exit
Brent Dewar’s confirmation that he’s stepping aside as NASCAR president is the latest development for a leadership group already in flux.
The move comes more than a month after NASCAR indefinitely suspended Chairman and CEO Brian France, who most industry executives believe will not return to his old role.
NASCAR announced that COO Steve Phelps will replace Dewar, whose role was reduced in recent months. Phelps will become NASCAR president on Oct. 1; Dewar will remain with the company through the end of the year and then move into a senior consulting and advisory role.
Dewar was hired in 2014 by France, who NASCAR suspended in August after he was charged with driving under the influence in the Hamptons, on Long Island. France has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting his next court date.
A growing number of well-placed executives at or close to the sanctioning body say all indications point to France not returning to his prior position. NASCAR declined comment.
First Look podcast for Sept. 24, 2018:
Since France’s arrest, his uncle, Jim France, has stepped up from his vice chairman role into that of interim chairman and CEO. Jim France has kept a low profile and not spoken publicly.
Jim France is not expected to hold onto the expanded role permanently, and sources say that NASCAR has a new CEO search quietly underway.
One name that had been speculated before Dewar’s announcement as a possible new CEO was IndyCar executive Jay Frye, who has helped oversee a rebound of that series. However, IndyCar CEO Mark Miles, who speaks frequently with Frye, told Sports Business Journal last week that he expects Frye to be back with IndyCar next year.
Phelps’ name often surfaces as well. Last week’s announcement marked the third promotion for him this year, underscoring how his stock has been rising rapidly with the France family.