IRL: IRL expands public relations, media relations team

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Griffin, Johnson, Savage named to key management positions. INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Dec. 16, 2002 -- The Indy Racing League has expanded its efforts in public relations and media relations with the hiring of three veteran sports public relations...

Griffin, Johnson, Savage named to key management positions.

INDIANAPOLIS, Monday, Dec. 16, 2002 -- The Indy Racing League has expanded its efforts in public relations and media relations with the hiring of three veteran sports public relations professionals: John Griffin, Indy Racing League vice president of public relations; Kent Johnson, IRL director of media relations; and Tom Savage, IRL director of public relations.

Griffin is responsible for all aspects of the Indy Racing League's public relations and media relations efforts as well as strategic communications.

Johnson's role as director of media relations is to oversee the Indy Racing League's day-to-day relationships with the motorsports media, IRL drivers, teams and track public relations representatives.

As director of public relations, Savage is responsible for promoting the league to "non-traditional" media outlets, or those that do not regularly cover Indy Racing, in both local and national IRL markets. He will work with IRL drivers, teams, sponsors and host venues.

The IRL's three new public and media relations officials will be supported in their efforts by Indy Racing's veteran media relations staff: Kimberly Miller, manager of media relations; Ashleigh Higgins, manager of media relations for the Indy Racing Infiniti Pro Series; Paul Kelly, communications manager; and Beth Agan, media coordinator. Ron Green, former IRL director of media relations, became the director of public relations for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last month.

Before joining the IRL, Griffin worked for NASCAR from 1995-2002, starting as the senior manager for corporate communications before being promoted to director of communications and eventually managing director of communications.

Griffin's extensive work with the media while at NASCAR led to a dramatic increase of coverage in USA Today and expanded coverage for the series in major market newspapers and national publications such as Forbes, Fortune and Sports Illustrated.

Griffin directed public relations efforts for World Cup USA 1994 from 1992-94 and for the Major Indoor Soccer League from 1986-91. He also worked on the National Hockey League's public relations team following his collegiate years at St. Thomas University in Miami, where he earned a bachelor's degree in sports administration and a minor in communications.

Johnson comes to the IRL after a three-year stint in the athletic department at Indiana State University, where he was assistant athletics director for media relations. He was responsible for all aspects of media relations operations for ISU's 15-sport NCAA Division I athletics program.

Before joining the ISU staff, Johnson served for almost two years as director of media relations for the Tyler Jet Motorsports NASCAR Winston Cup Series team. Before that, he spent a total of 13 years in the sports information departments of Texas Christian University, Tulane University and Southern Methodist University.

Johnson graduated from West Texas State University with a bachelor's degree in mass communication.

Savage is entering motorsports after working for seven years in professional basketball. He has been director of media relations for the Indiana Fever WNBA team for the last two years and previously worked in public and media relations roles for the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team, the Houston Comets WNBA team and the Sioux Falls Skyforce Continental Basketball Association team.

Savage, a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.), also has communications experience in the public sector, spending one Congressional session as deputy communications director for the United States Senate Commerce Committee.

"We are very pleased to welcome John, Kent and Tom to the Indy Racing League family during this time of unprecedented growth in our series," said Fred Nation, executive vice president, communications, for Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Indy Racing League.

"By utilizing John's skills as a public relations executive and media liaison, and Kent's and Tom's experience in successfully guiding traditional and non-traditional media efforts, respectively, we are confident the IRL will continue to develop a strong relationship with fans, sponsors and media around the world."

-irl-

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Series AUTOMOTIVE , INDYCAR