NASCAR announced a pair of job changes for the executive vice president on Thursday Steve O’Donnell and Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Ben Kennedy. The former has been promoted to chief operating officer, while the latter will join NASCAR’s competition department as senior vice president of racing development and strategy. Both begin their new duties with immediate effect.
O’Donnell, who has worked for NASCAR since 1996, became EVP and Chief Racing Development Officer in 2014. After beginning his tenure at the sanctioning body in the marketing arm, he moved into operations that involve overseeing rules and sports regulations.
“NASCAR is in a prime position for growth, and I look forward to helping our talented team continue the work needed to build our sport,” said O’Donnell. “I am deeply passionate about NASCAR, its fans and those who work in our industry. Together, we will continue this unprecedented collaboration to ensure the success of our sport.
Kennedy, member of the France family that runs NASCAR and former Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series driver, moved into sport leadership after ending his racing career in 2017. As senior vice president of strategy and innovation, he was the brains of the Busch mild shock to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February.
“I am thrilled to return to the Competitive team and continue to learn from some of the most innovative leaders in our sport,” Kennedy said. “This season’s races with the Next Gen car are some of the best we’ve ever seen. It’s truly an exciting time in NASCAR, and I look forward to helping this talented team grow our sport.
“With more than twenty-five years of NASCAR experience in a variety of disciplines, Steve O’Donnell has earned respect throughout the industry, and his collaborative leadership in the competitive space has positioned the sport for incredible growth for years to come,” commented the president of NASCAR Steve Phelps. “In a short time, Ben Kennedy has proven himself to be an innovative and thoughtful leader with bold ideas and a tireless work ethic. He is returning to his competitive roots with this new role, in which he will no doubt excel.