Brandon Thompson

NASCAR creates Vice President Diversity and Inclusion position

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NASCAR announced Tuesday that it has appointed Brandon Thompson to the newly created position of Vice President, Diversity and Inclusion. He will lead the sanctioning body’s strategy for diversity and inclusion, as well as programs and initiatives designed to enhance diversity across the NASCAR industry.

Thompson previously was Managing Director of the NASCAR Touring Series. In his new role, he will report to Jill Gregory, executive vice president and chief marketing and content officer for NASCAR.

“Brandon is an established and well-respected leader in our sport who will help NASCAR realize its vision in creating a more diverse industry,” Gregory said in a statement. “This new position and Brandon’s appointment reinforces our steadfast commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for our fans, industry and employees.”

According to NASCAR, Thompson will oversee an existing team of NASCAR employees responsible for multicultural programs and initiatives including the NASCAR Drive for Diversity Program, as well as strategic alliances with the Institute for Sport and Social Justice and the Diversity and Inclusion Sports Consortium.

The team includes Dawn Harris, who has been promoted to Managing Director, Diversity and Inclusion.

“NASCAR has made significant progress in the areas of diversity and inclusion and we now have an opportunity to build on our momentum – both as a company and industry,” Thompson said in a statement. “It is with great passion and energy that we will champion our sport as accepting and welcoming of all individuals interested in being part of the NASCAR family.”

Thompson began his motorsports career in 2003 as an intern at Nashville Superspeedway, a role he applied for through the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program.

NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to return to Martinsville in May 2020

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Martinsville Speedway announced Tuesday that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will return to the track in 2020.

It will mark the series’ first race at Martinsville since 2010.

The modified tour, once a fixture at Martinsville, will run a 200-lap race at night on May 8, 2020. That will be held the evening before the Cup night race there. The modified race will be known as the MaxPro Window Films 200.

“We get asked a lot about the modifieds a lot – from fans, from drivers, from media,” Martinsville Speedway President Clay Campbell said. “Now, we can say, ‘Yes, we will have them back next year.’ These cars are such an important part of Martinsville Speedway history and the time is right to bring them back.”

The modified division first raced at Martinsville from 1960-2002. Greg Sacks went 101.014 mph in qualifying in a modified car in 1986 – a record that remains for any series at Martinsville.

“The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour and Martinsville Speedway are a perfect match,” said Brandon Thompson, NASCAR Managing Director, Touring Series. “When you talk history and legacy – names like (Richie) Evans, (Jerry) Cook and (Geoff) Bodine are synonymous with Martinsville. The modified division and Martinsville Speedway are the cornerstones on which the sport was built. We’re excited about adding names like (Doug) Coby, (Justin) Bonsignore, and maybe even (Ryan) Preece – a new generation of Modified racing stars to the half-mile and look forward to being part of an incredible race weekend.”