New Gainesville Raceway general manager

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761 ROBERTSON NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF GAINESVILLE RACEWAY GLENDORA, Calif. -- Veteran motorsports facility manager Don Robertson has been named general manager of Gainesville...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: NHRA Communications (818) 914-4761

ROBERTSON NAMED GENERAL MANAGER OF GAINESVILLE RACEWAY

GLENDORA, Calif. -- Veteran motorsports facility manager Don Robertson has been named general manager of Gainesville Raceway in Gainesville, Fla., NHRA President Dallas Gardner announced.

Robertson, 49, will begin his responsibilities immediately at the NHRA-owned facility. He reports to Graham Light, NHRA senior vice president, racing operations. Robertson succeeds Bob Moore, who retired after nearly 30 years at the facility.

Robertson is responsible for all facets of operation of the facility, including personnel, marketing, sales, public relations, community relations and financial management.

"I look forward to helping one of the finest motorsports facilities in the country reach a new level," Robertson said. "I want to ensure the continued growth of all existing events at the track and expand the use of the facility.

"I'm also eager to expand the presence of NHRA and Gainesville Raceway in the community. We've always enjoyed a strong partnership with the Gainesville area, and we want the track, its events and its people to take an even more active role in the community."

Robertson has more than 30 years of experience in motorsports management. He comes to Gainesville after serving as general manager of Jax Raceways in Jacksonville, Fla., since 1981. Jax Raceways is a multipurpose facility that includes an NHRA-sanctioned eighth-mile drag strip.

He also has extensive experience at Gainesville Raceway. Robertson was event director at the facility from 1973-82.

Robertson also worked for the last three years on Gainesville Raceway's parking and traffic reorganization project, drawing on his 20 years of experience as a sergeant with the Jacksonville sheriff's department. He retired from the sheriff's department in July.

During his tenure with the sheriff's department, Robertson created the innovative "Beat the Heat" program to help prevent illegal street racing and encourage young drivers to race at sanctioned drag racing facilities.

Robertson and other Jacksonville police officers converted a police car into a race car in the early 1980s and offered young drivers a chance to "beat the heat" in a race against an officer driving the converted squad car at Jax Raceway. Officers in the "Beat the Heat" program also conducted safety programs for young drivers throughout the Jacksonville area.

The successful program, which still exists, has been emulated by police departments throughout the United States.

Robertson started his management career at Thunderbolt Raceway in Green Cove Springs, Fla., where he served as event director from 1963-67. He started his racing career at that facility and continues to compete in sports-car racing and drag racing events.

"Don Robertson is the perfect choice to take over the leadership of one of our flagship facilities due to his extensive background in track management and community relations, and his outstanding organizational skills, " Light said. "Don is no stranger to Gainesville, and his knowledge of the facility and the community will prove invaluable. We're delighted to find someone of Don's caliber."

Gainesville Raceway has been the annual site of the Mac Tools Gatornationals -- one of the premier races in the NHRA Winston Drag Racing Series -- since 1970. The sprawling facility is used year-round for other motorsports-related events.

Robertson recently relocated to Gainesville from Jacksonville. He has twin sons, Todd and Chad, 21. -30-

Jack Durbin indy500@freenet.tlh.fl.us Motorsport News International jackd@motorsport.com (Moderators for "rec.autos.sport.info") Homepage http://www.freenet.tlh.fl.us/users/indy500/index.html

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