First Year Complete

It’s hard to say that I just completed my first full year back as a NASCAR employee since working around this sport is all I have ever known (some would say that I never really left). I got my first paycheck from NASCAR at the age of 15, and one way or another, I have been working for them ever since. However, these past 12 months have been different.

When I first joined NASCAR in 2000, I was an entry-level coordinator that did as he was told and made sure I did my job to its fullest—but had very little influence when considering making an impact to the business in a meaningful way. When I joined the JHE Production Group, I was at the beck and call of my clients… ensuring that we brought their vison to life. Now I have been blessed with the opportunity to build a department from scratch and empowered to do what I think is right. So, I am in a different position than before. I am responsible for a significant part of a guest’s race day experience.

Now that I have one complete lap (a full year) under my belt, it’s important to keep the things that are working and adjust the areas that are not living up to expectations.

After looking back at our After-Action Reviews and post-event surveys, here is what is working:


  • Even though NASCAR owns close to a dozen tracks, we were severely lacking consistency from week-to-week in how we produce our opening ceremonies. By locking in a roster of consistent entertainment team members and working with them to build upon the previous weeks’ areas of opportunity, we consistently got better and strengthened the star power of our entertainment team.

NASCAR Experience

  • NASCAR fans are vocal about their desire to have more interactive displays throughout the Fan Zones and what a huge factor meeting drivers and interacting with like-minded superfans is to their race day experience. The NASCAR Experience was a huge hit this season and will continue to be a staple destination for many years to come.


Building Upon Traditions

  • For many guests, attending a NASCAR race has been a family tradition handed down from generation to generation. It is important that we embrace our established guests while welcoming our new ones. This took shape throughout the season as we purposefully made a point to slow down and tell the story of why we were doing something and how it came to be. Whether it was a video being played as the cars took their final pace lap before the start of the Daytona 500 or was a script written about how the “This Is Talladega” chant came to be, we made sure we embraced the things of the past while educating people who might not know the roots of these historic grounds.

As successful as some initiatives were, there are also some areas that need to be addressed prior to next season:


  • NASCAR fans love meeting drivers… but just because a driver can fit an appearance into their schedule doesn’t mean that it fits with the race fans. There were numerous times where a driver committed to come to the NASCAR Experience or the NASCAR Kids Zone, but we didn’t slow down enough to think through the on-track activity or that the scheduled time was too close to the Fan Zone opening and we wouldn’t have enough guests to make it worth the driver’s time.


  • A flaw of mine is that I want to boil the ocean all at once and tend to get in over my head. I was extremely aggressive over the past 12 months and attempted to enact too many initiatives all at once. Now that we have a proper baseline and addressed some areas that I perceived to be on fire we can slow down a little and look at this job more like an endurance race and less like a sprint.

There are tactical areas that need to be addressed, such as consistent after-action reviews and more thoughtful staffing plans, but after my first full lap around this circuit I can tell you that I am ready for the laps ahead. I am excited to be able to make a positive and meaningful impact on a guest’s race day experience.

See you around the next turn,