NASCAR elevates five staff to Vice President roles

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NASCAR has delivered an early Christmas present to these five. See today’s release below:

NASCAR today announced it has promoted five leaders in its Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices to Vice President, in recognition of their various achievements and leadership roles in key business units.

The five promoted today include: David Higdon, Integrated Marketing Communications (Daytona Beach); Cory Posocco, NASCAR Events Group (Daytona Beach); Chad Seigler, Team Marketing Services (Charlotte); Colin Smith, NASCAR Digital Media (Charlotte); and Tshneka Tate, Legal (Charlotte).

“We have developed a very strong and deep leadership team that has provided expertise and strong results during a period of unique challenge and opportunity for our industry,” said Brian France, NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer. “Each of these individuals has demonstrated success in driving key initiatives across NASCAR and now become part of an overall leadership group that has us well positioned for the future.”

David Higdon, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications – Since joining NASCAR in 2011, Higdon has overseen several divisions within IMC and led numerous marketing communications campaigns and public affairs initiatives for the company and industry. He has also played a lead role in crisis communications and provided senior communications counsel and leadership during the creation of IMSA, which unified sports car racing in America, and through its inaugural season in 2014.

Cory Posocco, Vice President, NASCAR Events Group – After beginning his career as Stafford Speedway’s marketing / public relations director and special events coordinator, Posocco joined NASCAR in 2000. Since then he has steadily taken on greater roles in orchestrating special events, including NASCAR’s annual Sprint Cup Series Awards show, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and countless other events at every level of NASCAR racing.

Chad Seigler, Vice President, Team Marketing Services – As a senior leader who helped create the Industry Services function at NASCAR, Seigler currently oversees Team Marketing Services which helps drive sponsorship sales for race teams at all three national series levels and ensures the deployment of broad NASCAR resources to support various team initiatives. He joined NASCAR in 2007 after two years at Nextel and five seasons with the Carolina Panthers.

Colin Smith, Vice President, NASCAR Digital Media – Joining NASCAR in 2012 after 14 years in various roles focused on college sports at RAYCOM, Smith has overseen the dramatic growth of NASCAR’s digital platform including NASCAR.com and a suite of touted mobile applications. He plays a key role driving integration of the digital portfolio with NASCAR’s broadcast partners, various NASCAR departments and the broader industry, as well as content distribution through various channels.

Tshneka Tate, Vice President, Senior Assistant General Counsel – A member of NASCAR’s legal team since 2000, Tate has risen to become senior in-house counsel with oversight of all legal issues for NASCAR Media Group, NASCAR Productions and NASCAR Digital Media. Recently, she played a key role in new rights agreements with FOX, NBC, IMG and was lead counsel on the transition of digital rights from Turner Sports back to NASCAR in 2012. Before joining NASCAR, Tate worked in the Maryland Attorney General’s office.

Lewis Hamilton takes F1 pole in dramatic Russian GP qualifying

Russian pole Lewis Hamilton
Dan Istitene - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton took a step closer to equaling the Formula One win record Saturday by clinching pole position at the Russian Grand Prix, after narrowly avoiding early elimination when Sebastian Vettel crashed.

Hamilton charged to a track-record time of 1 minute, 31.304 seconds, beating the Red Bull of Max Verstappen by 0.563 for his fifth straight pole position. Hamilton can achieve his 91st career win in the race on Sunday, matching the record held by Michael Schumacher.

Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, was beaten into third by Verstappen’s fast run at the end of the session and was .652 off Hamilton’s time.

The long run from the grid to the first significant turn means Bottas could yet threaten to overtake Hamilton at the start Sunday using the slipstream from his teammate’s car.

“It’s nice being on pole but here is probably the worst place to be on pole,” Hamilton said.

“This year you’re seeing that our cars are more draggy and there’s more tow this year than we’ve seen in other years. So I generally expect one of (Verstappen and Bottas) to come flying by at some point. I think I’m just going to focus on my race and run the fastest race I can.”

Bottas earned his first win at the 2017 race in Russia after starting third and overtaking the two Ferraris ahead of him at the start.

Verstappen and Bottas both start the race on medium tires, which could give them an edge in terms of pit strategy over Hamilton, who is on soft tires, which wear much faster.

“I’m just going to have to nurse those tires for as far as I can. These guys, if they get by, they’re going to be pulling away,” Hamilton said.

Verstappen said he was delighted to start second.

“I wasn’t expecting that and of course it’s great for us. If we can get a good start tomorrow you never know what can happen,” he said.

Vettel lost control of his car over the kerb on the inside of the 90-degree, right-hand turn four and spun into the wall, before the Ferrari bounced back onto the track. Teammate Charles Leclerc was following closely behind and narrowly missed the wrecked car, driving over its discarded front wing.

“Oh my God, that was very, very close,” Leclerc told his team over the radio. Leclerc qualified 11th and Vettel 15th as Ferrari failed to reach the top-10 shootout with either car for the third time in four races.

Vettel’s crash meant the red flag was waved while Hamilton was trying to set his first valid lap time to make the third session – after his first attempt was earlier ruled out for going off the track.

After the track was cleared and the session restarted, Hamilton had to rush his out-lap to make it over the line in time for another flying lap with just a second to spare.

“It was horrible,” Hamilton said. “Heart in the mouth.”

Hamilton was also asked to report to race stewards over another incident in which he went off the track in the first part of qualifying. No further action was taken. It was found Hamilton didn’t gain an advantage because the lap time wasn’t counted.

Hamilton is the runaway championship leader with a 55-point advantage over second-place Bottas and 80 over Verstappen. If he can earn four more pole positions in the last seven races, he would be the first driver to 100 in F1 history.

Earlier in the third and final practice Saturday morning, Hamilton set the pace with a time of 1 minute, 33.279 seconds that was 0.776 better than his Mercedes teammate Bottas, who had been quickest in the first two sessions.