While NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France remains on indefinite leave following his recent arrest for aggravated driving while intoxicated and possession of a controlled substance, the industry announced other significant leadership changes Thursday morning.
NASCAR announced it has promoted chief operating officer Steve Phelps to the role of president effective Oct. 1. Current president Brent Dewar will step down at that time and begin transitioning to a senior consulting and advisory role.
“As a life-long fan of NASCAR, the opportunity to provide league-wide leadership is something I am looking forward to,” Phelps said in a statement. “I am confident that the strong team of leaders here at NASCAR and across the industry will accelerate the necessary changes to grow the sport and engage our passionate fans.”
Phelps first joined NASCAR in 2005 after years of senior leadership experience both with the NFL and Wasserman, a major sports marketing group. During his time in the industry, he has helped NASCAR negotiate numerous key sponsor agreements — Coca-Cola, Monster Energy, and Camping World, to name a few — as well as adjusting the stock car industry’s overall marketing plan.
Dewar, who joined NASCAR in 2013 and has served as president since July 2017, will still be heavily involved with the sport in the future.
“It has been a privilege to serve this sport these past five years,” Dewar said in a statement. “NASCAR is a close-knit family and I have been blessed to be part of a great team and industry, working collaboratively to deliver great racing for our fans. I look forward to continuing to work with the industry and the France family.”
In his new role, Phelps is expected to report directly to interim CEO Jim France, Brian France’s uncle and the son of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.
NASCAR has not announced when a decision will be made regarding Brian France’s permanent status as NASCAR chairman.