NASCAR promotes Ben Kennedy, Steve O’Donnell

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Ben Kennedy, credited with creating the Clash at the Coliseum, and Steve O’Donnell have been promoted to new roles, the sanctioning body announced Thursday morning.

Kennedy’s new role will be senior vice president, racing development and strategy. O’Donnell’s new role will be as chief operating officer. Both assume their new roles immediately.

“With more than 25 years of NASCAR experience across a variety of disciplines, Steve O’Donnell has earned the respect of the entire industry, and his collaborative leadership in the competition space has positioned the sport for incredible growth for years to come,” said Steve Phelps, NASCAR president, in a statement. “In a short time, Ben Kennedy has proven to be an innovative, thoughtful leader with bold ideas and a tireless work ethic. He returns to his competition roots with this new role, one in which he will no doubt excel.”

Kennedy will maintain oversight of the national series schedule development and now oversee Racing Operations, Track Services/Transportation/Officiating, Industry Relations and the NASCAR Touring & Weekly Series. He will work with O’Donnell in managing at-track competition and racing innovation.

“I am excited to return to the Competition team and continue to learn from some of the most innovative leaders across our sport,” Kennedy said in a statement. “The racing this season with the Next Gen car is some of the best we’ve ever seen. It is truly an exciting time in NASCAR, and I look forward to helping this talented team grow our sport.”

O’Donnell will continue to have oversight of NASCAR Competition and Racing Operations and also now have oversight on Track Operations and Strategic Development. All NASCAR-owned tracks properties, track presidents and respective events will fall under O’Donnell’s responsibilities.

“NASCAR is in a prime position for growth, and I look forward to helping our talented team continue the work necessary to build our sport,” O’Donnell said. “I am deeply passionate about NASCAR, its fans and those who work in our industry. Together, we will continue the unprecedented collaboration to ensure our sport’s success.”