NASCAR President Steve Phelps has been named to the sanctioning body’s Board of Directors, NASCAR announced Tuesday.
Phelps becomes the fifth member of NASCAR’s highest level of leadership. He joins CEO and Chairman Jim France, Executive Vice Chair Lesa France Kennedy, Senior Advisor Mike Helton and Chief Legal Officer Gary Crotty.
“Steve’s unwavering leadership and dedication to growing our sport through even the most challenging times has been remarkable,” France said in a press release. “Steve understands every part of our business and has demonstrated a consistently confident and steady presence in the face of adversity. He will be a valued and trusted addition to the Board of Directors as we work to build a stronger NASCAR for our fans and our sport.”
Phelps has been with NASCAR since 2005 and served as president since 2018. He’s only the fifth person to hold the president position.
“I am incredibly honored to be appointed to the Board of Directors,” Phelps said in a press release. “As a lifelong fan of the sport, I feel a great sense of pride and duty in our work to position the sport for long-term success. I am grateful for the leadership and example set by the France family and am genuinely humbled by their continued trust in me.”
The addition of Phelps to the board comes after an eventful year for NASCAR. Phelps helped lead it through the COVID-19 pandemic, which shut the sport down for 71 days until it returned on May 17 at Darlington.
Before the June 7 race at Atlanta, Phelps delivered a message against racism and social injustice in the wake of the death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
“The time is now to listen, to understand and to stand against racism and racial injustice,” Phelps said. “We ask our drivers, our competitors and all our fans to join us in this mission.”
Later in June, Phelps dealt with the controversy around a noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega. After an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, it was proven not to be a hate crime
Phelps said that “in hindsight” NASCAR’s original statement addressing the noose as a hate crime could have been toned down before it was confirmed by the FBI no hate crime was committed.
“Should we have toned that message down slightly? Maybe we should have and I’ll take responsibility for that,” Phelps said. “I stand by the actions that we took, and I think they were the right ones.”
During his tenure as president, Phelps has also overseen the merger and integration with International Speedway Corp. and instituted a Premier Partner model for the Cup Series.