NASCAR: Brian France up to 10th in Sports Business Journal’s 50 Most Influential

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NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France has moved up two spots from 12th to 10th, in Sports Business Journal‘s 50 Most Influential People in Sports Business, released Monday.

In 2013, the major piece of business news was France and NASCAR helping strike its new TV deal with FOX and NBC, the latter returning to showing NASCAR races in 2015 for the first time since 2006.

This year of course, France and NASCAR’s overhaul of the Chase for the Sprint Cup format produced one of the more exciting and dramatic seasons in recent memory, capped off by Kevin Harvick taking his first title in a four-driver, winner-take-all format.

While France ranks behind the four commissioners of the four major stick-and-ball sports – NBA commissioner Adam Silver tops the list, with the outgoing/incoming combo of MLB commissioners Bud Selig and Rob Manfred fourth, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell fifth and Gary Bettman ninth – it is still a sign of NASCAR’s standing in the general sports world that France remains solidly in with that group.

The list is American-focused no question, but even with that being the case it’s obvious that NASCAR remains still head-and-shoulders clear of any other major racing category in this country. France is the only racing individual on the list; there is no sign, nor would you really expect there to be of F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone or Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles, the head of INDYCAR’s parent company.

Not even other NASCAR team owners such as Rick Hendrick or Roger Penske are on the list, although Penske’s accomplishments were hailed in a recent Fortune article.

All interesting to note, no question. Also of note, NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus slots in just behind France in 11th place.

The full list is linked here.

NEOM McLaren Formula E announces Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast for 2023 season

McLaren Formula E Hughes
McLaren Racing
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Doubling down on their commitment to electric auto sports, McLaren Racing announced Jake Hughes will join Rene Rast to compete in the 2023 Formula E Series (FE), which completes their driver lineup.

The NEOM McLaren FE team was formed by the acquisition of the Mercedes-EQ Formula E team that won the 2021 and 2022 championships with Stoffel Vandoorne and Nyck de Vries behind the wheel.

“Today’s announcement feels like a long time coming,” said Ian James, managing director of NEOM McLaren Electric Racing in a release. “Since May this year, when we first announced McLaren Racing’s entry into Formula E, we have been working tirelessly to get in place the best possible team and structure for sustainable success.

“On the one hand, we have been working on the retention of the amazing talent that already was in place before going into the transitional phase. I’m proud to say I think we’ve done a great job on that front.

“On the other hand, we have been focusing on putting in place new processes and new talent – and the latter includes the drivers.”

The driver lineup clasps the two hands together.

Hughes brings 10 years racing experience in single seater cars, including a role with the acquired Mercedes-EQ team as a reserve and development driver for the past two seasons. He is the 2013 BRDC Formula 4 champion and has multiple wins in Formula 2, including two in 2020.

Announced in August, Rast joins the team after earning two podium finishes and six top-fives in 22 career Formula E starts for Audi Sport ABT before returning to the DTM Series last year. Rast’s best finish in Formula E came in the Puebla E Prix when he finished second to teammate Lucas di Grassi by less than a half second.

McLaren’s commitment to Formula E comes one year after they entered the Extreme E rally series in 2022 with Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour in the driver lineup. After a modest start to the season, the McLaren XE drivers crossed the finish line first in Round 4 in Chile, but were assessed a time penalty that dropped them to fifth. Last week in the season finale in Uruguay, they held onto a hard-earned second place finish.