Darlington Raceway announced Wednesday that Kerry Tharp will be the track’s president effective July 18.
Tharp succeeds Chip Wile, who left to become president at Daytona International Speedway in April, taking over for Joie Chitwood.
Tharp has been with NASCAR’s communications department since April 2005.
“These are exciting times for Darlington Raceway and Kerry Tharp is the perfect person to lead one of the most historic tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit,” said Chitwood, International Speedway Corp. Executive Vice President and COO, in a statement. “His appreciation of our sport, knowledge of the industry and passion for South Carolina are unmatched. Kerry will do a great job leading the Darlington Raceway team and continuing to build upon their celebrated throwback marketing campaign.”
Said Tharp in a statement: “I am deeply humbled and honored to have this opportunity. I love the state of South Carolina and its people. I know how special Darlington Raceway is to this state and to the sport of NASCAR. The track’s rich tradition, history, and popularity resonate with the competitors, partners, media and most importantly the fans. I look forward to working with our team to help keep Darlington as one of our sport’s crown jewels.”
Tharp, a native of Louisville, Kentucky, has been a South Carolina resident for more than 30 years. Before joining NASCAR, Tharp worked in the media relations department at the University of South Carolina from 1985-2005. He spent two years at the University of Tennessee and four years at the University of Oklahoma prior to going to the University of South Carolina.
The Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway will be Sept. 4 and broadcast on NBC.