Ben Kennedy, Steve O’Donnell receive NASCAR promotions

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Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR announced Thursday a pair of position changes for Executive Vice President 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 rejoin NASCAR’s competition department as Senior Vice President of Racing Development and Strategy. Both begin their new duties effective immediately.

O’Donnell, who has worked for NASCAR since 1996, became EVP and Chief Racing Development Officer in 2014. After starting his tenure at the sanctioning body in the marketing arm, he moved to operations which entails overseeing the sport’s rules and regulations.

“NASCAR is in a prime position for growth, and I look forward to helping our talented team continue the work necessary to build our sport,” O’Donnell said. “I am deeply passionate about NASCAR, its fans and those who work in our industry. Together, we will continue the unprecedented collaboration to ensure our sport’s success.”

Kennedy, a member of the France family that runs NASCAR and a former Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series driver, transitioned into the sport’s executive side after ending his driving career in 2017. As SVP of Strategy and Innovation, he was the mastermind of the Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in February.

“I am excited to return to the Competition team and continue to learn from some of the most innovative leaders across our sport,” stated Kennedy. “The racing this season with the Next Gen car is some of the best we’ve ever seen. It is 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 across a variety of disciplines, Steve O’Donnell has earned the respect of the entire industry, and his collaborative leadership in the competition space has positioned the sport for incredible growth for years to come,” commented NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “In a short time, Ben Kennedy has proven to be an innovative, thoughtful leader with bold ideas and a tireless work ethic. He returns to his competition roots with this new role, one in which he will no doubt excel.”

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Justin is a History major at San Jose State University and lifelong racing fan who has worked for The Checkered Flag since 2018. His coverage mainly focuses on NASCAR, the Stadium Super Trucks, and off-road series like Extreme E and SCORE International. He also dabbles in other disciplines such as IndyCar, rallycross, and sports cars.
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