NASCAR announces changes to roles of key executives Phelps, O’Donnell

(L-R) Robin Pemberton, Gene Stefanyshyn and Steve O'Donnelll will be among those expanding their NASCAR roles. 

Streeter Lecka/NASCAR via Getty Images

NASCAR announced on Thursday changes to the roles of several of its key executives.

Steve Phelps, NASCAR executive vice president and chief marketing officer, will now lead the organization’s operations in Charlotte, N.C. He will continue to report to NASCAR Chief Operating Officer Brent Dewar and will also continue his oversight of brand marketing, the communications division, NASCAR Digital Media and NASCAR Properties. He will add to his list oversight of licensing and entertainment marketing.

Steve O’Donnell has been named executive vice president and chief racing development officer and assumes leadership of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, NC. He will add oversight of all operations in Concord while maintaining his role in racing operations, industry services, green innovation and the touring and weekly series.

"In Steve Phelps and Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR has two seasoned leaders who are highly respected throughout the industry and have records of success in leading key functions within NASCAR," NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France said. "Our strong teams in Charlotte and Concord are engaged in many efforts critical to the sport’s future and we’re confident having these two leaders at the helm on a day-to-day basis will accelerate projects and help us drive innovation for the future."

Gene Stefanyshyn, who leads NASCAR’s Racing Development and Innovation group, and Robin Pemberton, who heads the competition department, have each been promoted to senior vice president and now will report to O’Donnell. Additionally, Tom Swindell, who has played a key role on several recent racing operations initiatives, has been assigned to Concord where he will work closely with O’Donnell on short- and long-term projects.

Stefanyshyn, who joined NASCAR in May 2013, has worked with the sanctioning body’s rules package development, testing and parts approval processes and set in motion a number of innovation projects for future racing development. Pemberton, a long-time crew chief in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, has played a key role in the evolution of NASCAR’s officiating model, qualifying procedures and championship format since his arrival at NASCAR in 2004.

"Gene and Robin both bring invaluable experience and unique expertise to our team in Concord, and we are enjoying some of the best competition ever in NASCAR due to their efforts," O’Donnell said. "We are constantly looking to improve and while we have very good momentum on an array of projects, we believe we can make an already strong product even better in a variety of ways for the industry and most importantly, for the fans."