NASCAR Announces New Hires, Executive Reorganization
Changes aimed at boosting touring and weekly series, consumer PR efforts
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (April 12, 2004) -- The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) announced today a reorganization designed to increase the emphasis on the sanctioning body's regional touring and weekly competitions, and further develop public relations efforts overall.
Jim Hunter, formerly Vice President of Corporate Communications, has been given the new title of Vice President of Corporate Communications/Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series. Returning to an area where he has worked earlier in his career, Hunter will work closely with new employee Don Hawk, who has been named Director of Regional Racing Development, and Chris Boals, who remains the Director of Regional Touring/NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series.
"This revamped approach illustrates our commitment to grassroots racing, which is the bedrock in our sport's foundation," said NASCAR Chairman/CEO Brian France. "We're going to put more focus on our regional and weekly racing. The experience that both Jim Hunter and Don Hawk bring to the table will be invaluable.
"It's especially significant that we're involving Jim more with the regional and weekly competition. He has been around this sport for more than 30 years and many of those years were spent working at those levels."
Hunter's return to regional touring and weekly competition duties drew favorable response from short-track operators.
"We're absolutely delighted at this news," said Barbara Cromarty of Riverhead Raceway in Long Island, N.Y. "His knowledge of short-track racing is unsurpassed."
"Jim Hunter is by far the most professional individual I have met in racing," added Dale Pinilis, operator of Bowman-Gray Stadium's racing in Winston-Salem, N.C. "I attribute most of what I know to Jim's willingness to teach me, and keep me pointed in the right direction."
Ted Carlson owns three race tracks involved in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly program -- San Antonio (Texas) Speedway, Nebraska Raceway Park in Greenwood, Neb. and Park Jefferson Speedway in Jefferson, S.D. He also welcomed the news.
"Jim's been greatly missed [at the regional and weekly level]," Carlson said. "He helped get the short-track programs going and now that he's back, he'll really add something to those programs again."
Added Tom Blackwell, promoter at Greenville-Pickens Speedway in Greenville, S.C.: "We really couldn't get a better person for this job."
In a move that will complement Hunter's increased responsibilities, public relations veteran Ramsey Poston is joining the communications department as the new Managing Director of Consumer and Corporate Communications. Hawk, Boals and Poston all will report to Hunter.
Hawk, 48, has been involved in every aspect of short-track racing and is widely known and respected in the motorsports industry. He is a graduate of Philadelphia Biblical University.
Hawk is perhaps best known within the industry for his long association with the late seven-time NASCAR champion Dale Earnhardt. From 1993-2000, Hawk advanced through the ranks of Dale Earnhardt Inc., eventually becoming the organization's president. Prior to joining DEI, Hawk was general business manger for Alan Kulwicki Racing. He continues to handle Kulwicki's estate for the family of the 1992 NASCAR champion who died in a 1993 plane crash.
Hawk also is considered one of the pioneers in the NASCAR-related memorabilia business. He will be based at NASCAR's Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C.
Poston, 37, comes to NASCAR from Powell Tate, a communication/consulting firm in Washington, D.C. Poston has been a Senior Vice President/Management Supervisor with the firm, where he has worked since 1997. A graduate of Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., Poston will assist Hunter in managing the communications department and will especially concentrate on public relations initiatives in the country's top 20 media markets, and those involving non-traditional media outlets.
Powell Tate -- headed by Jody Powell, White House Press Secretary under President Jimmy Carter from 1976-80 -- has worked with NASCAR in recent years on special projects such as issue management and crisis communications. Poston will be based at NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.
"Ramsey brings a wealth of experience in public relations," Hunter said, "and he really knows our sport, a result of NASCAR's relationship with Powell Tate. His experience will translate into leadership as we continue to advance our PR efforts on a national scale, befitting our growth as a truly national sport."