DETROIT (December 22, 1999) - Championship Auto Racing Teams has reached out to the ranks of its FedEx Championship Series team sponsors for the person who will oversee its marketing programs as the Champ Car series heads into the 21st century.
Patrick Leahy, a 27-year marketing veteran of Target stores, joins the CART staff Jan. 10 as its Senior Vice President of Marketing. The announcement was made today by CART Chairman and CEO, Andrew Craig.
Leahy most recently was responsible for the planning and execution of the marketing programs created in support of Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, which has won an unprecedented four consecutive FedEx Championship Series titles, including the 1999 championship with sensational Colombian driver Juan Montoya at the wheel.
"Pat has a superb knowledge of sports marketing, understands our sport and is very well-known among the sponsor group throughout the sport," said Craig. "He is going to be a key player for CART as we look to 2000 and beyond."
Leahy joined Target directly from college as a writer in their in-store marketing department. He advanced to manage that group before moving into advertising management. He continued his climb through the Target marketing structure when he joined the corporate marketing department in 1993 as corporate marketing manager and remained in that position until making his decision to join CART.
"Target has been a great experience and has provided me with an excellent basis from which to approach this opportunity at CART," said Leahy. "I am looking forward to the challenges of marketing CART and the FedEx Championship Series. I sincerely believe CART open-wheel racing is the most exciting form of motorsport in the world with great opportunities for growth. I am very pleased to become a part of the CART team as we head into 2000."
In addition to managing the marketing program for Target/Chip Ganassi Racing, Leahy also was in charge of the planning and execution for the highly successful Target Grand Prix of Chicago, which debuted this past August at Chicago Motor Speedway.
Leahy also has been responsible for the planning and execution of Target's Guest Card and Take Charge of Education program, which allows Target customers to designate one percent of their purchases to be donated to the school of their choice. More than 4 million Target shoppers have enrolled in the program. Additionally, Leahy has managed Target's Community Relations activities, including the Target Volunteers, Red Cross and Thanks-A-Million programs.
Leahy, who holds a bachelor's degree in advertising and journalism from Metropolitan (Minn.) State University, is the father of four daughters.