Elton Sawyer

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Ben Kennedy named general manager of Truck Series in NASCAR executive moves

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NASCAR announced multiple leadership moves Tuesday, including the naming of Ben Kennedy as general manager of the Camping World Truck Series.

Kennedy, a former Truck Series driver, is the nephew of NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France and son of International Speedway Corporation’s CEO, Lesa France Kennedy.

Kennedy, 26, will work closely with Brad Moran, the managing director of the Truck Series and Jeff Wohlschlaeger, managing director of series marketing. He will report to Elton Sawyer, vice president of competition.

“Ben will draw upon his years of experience across NASCAR’s grassroots and national series to bring valuable commercial and competition insights to our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” said NASCAR President Brent Dewar in a press release. With promising young drivers and experienced veterans battling it out in close, side-by-side racing, Ben truly understands from experience that every lap matters and we are excited about his future leadership in this important national series.”

Kennedy has made 73 starts in the Truck Series and 17 in the Xfinity Series. In 2016, he earned his lone Truck Series win at Bristol Motor Speedway, becoming the first member of the France family to win a national NASCAR race.

MORE: Spotlight Q&A with Ben Kennedy

NASCAR also announced it has appointed Jim Cassidy to the new role of chief international officer. Cassidy was previously the vice president of racing operations.

In his new role, Cassidy will oversee all international competition and commercial operations, which includes the Pinty’s Series in Canada, the PEAK Mexico Series and the Whelen Euro Series.

“NASCAR racing is broadcast in over 185 countries and territories, with race fans engaging stock car racing in person at events in Canada, Mexico and across Europe,” Cassidy said in a press release. “The demand for NASCAR racing internationally has never been stronger and we look forward to bringing our sport closer to race fans everywhere.”

Cassidy will report to Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president and chief racing development officer.

“Jim brings nearly two decades of racing operations and industry leadership experience,” O’Donnell said in the press release. “He has worked tirelessly to grow our existing motorsports properties outside of the U.S and will lead our efforts to identify important growth opportunities internationally for our sport and its growing fanbase.”

Joining Cassidy in his efforts will be:

  • Chad Seigler as vice president of international business development
  • Celeste Griffin-Churchill as senior director, international
  • Joe Balash as director, international competition
  • Bob Duvall as senior director, international & weekly/touring business development

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NASCAR makes personnel changes to competition executive team

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NASCAR announced six personnel changes to its competition executive team on Tuesday.

The changes include the promotion of Elton Sawyer to vice president of officiating and technical inspection, and the addition of John Probst in the role of managing director of competition and innovation.

Sawyer, who comes from being the managing director of the Camping World Truck Series, will oversee multiple areas of NASCAR including inspection/officiating; officials training and development; and the events and transportation groups. He will continue to report to Scott Miller, senior vice president of competition.

Probst joins NASCAR after serving as technical director for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, a role he held previously at Red Bull Racing. Probst also spent more than 11 years as engineering supervisor at Ford Motor Company. His role with NASCAR will include oversight of several competition and innovation projects.

The other changes include:

  • Brad Moran has been named managing director of the Truck Series, replacing Sawyer. Moran served a similar capacity over the NASCAR Touring Series.
  • Brandon Thompson will become senior director of touring series, transitioning into Moran’s former role. Thompson joined NASCAR in 2012 and his roles have included the coordination and administration of weekly race activities.
  • George Grippo will join the competition team as managing director of competition technology and timing & scoring. He provided oversight of NASCAR Productions’ Technology Field and Media Operations department as its managing director since September 2013.
  • Jusan Hamilton will become manager of racing operations & event management. He joined NASCAR in 2012 before transitioning full-time in 2013 to its Integrated Marketing Communications operation.

“With today’s announcement, NASCAR has aligned the Competition department to meet the ever-changing and challenging needs of a highly competitive sports landscape,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR executive vice president and chief racing development officer, in a press release. “We’re delighted to see the growth of a number of our colleagues throughout the company, as well as welcoming a new one with a long history in the industry.”