NASCAR names Steve Phelps as new president

Steve Phelps
Steve Phelps (Getty Images)

NASCAR has announced Steve Phelps will assume duties as president of the sanctioning body effective Oct. 1.

A NASCAR media release noted current president Brent Dewar has “elected to step down,” but will transition to a senior consulting and advisory role in 2019.

Phelps becomes only the fifth president in NASCAR’s 70-year history, following Bill France Sr., Bill France Jr., Mike Helton and Dewar. 

“We couldn’t be more thrilled to have Steve Phelps as our leader,” NASCAR CEO and chairman Jim France said. “His passion for NASCAR and proven ability to work with our partners has been unparalleled over the years. We thank Brent for his service and leadership to our sport. His energy and vision have been of tremendous benefit to our employees and our industry.”

Since joining NASCAR in 2005, Phelps has held several roles, including chief marketing officer, and most recently, chief operating officer. 

“I want fans to know that I love NASCAR. It’s in my blood,” Phelps said (via NASCAR.com). “For our fans, we will work tirelessly to fulfill the promise of what NASCAR racing is — and that’s the best motorsport product on the planet. It’s our job to continue to fine-tune it and give you more of what you want — close, competitive, side-by-side racing.”

It’s the second major shakeup at NASCAR in the last few weeks. In early August, NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France announced he was taking an “indefinite leave of absence” after being charged with DWI and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Jim France assumed his duties.

Phelps faces challenges in boosting NASCAR’s fortunes, which have waned in recent years, with TV ratings and attendance both down from the sport’s heyday a few years ago.