Auto Club Speedway promotes from within to get new track president

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Dave Allen (pictured, right) has taken over as the new president of Auto Club Speedway, which hosts both NASCAR and the Verizon IndyCar Series.

Allen was previously the vice president of sales and marketing for the two-mile oval outside Los Angeles. In his new role as president, he replaces Gillian Zucker, who recently exited the motorsports arena to become president of business operations for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

Allen will control the entire operations of both ACS and its drag-racing facility, Auto Club Dragway. He will report to John R. Saunders, president of track owner International Speedway Corporation.

“I’m so excited to lead this incredible group of professionals here at Auto Club Speedway,” said Allen in a statement. “Southern California is known for its strong car culture and racing history and I look forward to building on those traditions with the help of our staff and amazing fans.”

“Dave is a proven leader with a strong background and knowledge of the motorsports industry, the Inland Empire/L.A. markets and Auto Club Speedway,” added Saunders. “He brings experience and strong leadership skills needed to help continue to position Auto Club Speedway and motorsports for growth in Southern California.”

Allen has been with the track since 1999, when it was owned by Penske Motorsports and known as California Speedway. He was the track’s senior director of sales and marketing from 2002-2006 before he was elevated to vice president status, and in 2008, he and Zucker collaborated on the deal that gave the Auto Club of Southern California its current naming rights on the facility.

ACS hosts an annual NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series weekend in March, and will host the Verizon IndyCar Series in late June 2015 after serving as site for IndyCar’s season finale from 2012-2014.

Conor Daly honors friend killed Saturday amid Indianapolis unrest

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IndyCar driver Conor Daly posted a poignant tribute to Chris Beaty, a former Indiana University football player and Indianapolis business owner who was killed Saturday amid protests and rioting in the city.

Daly said he got to know Beaty, who owned an event and marketing promotions company, five years ago when he was organizing Indianapolis 500 afterparties.

Daly annually had been involved in Beaty’s parties since then and said Beaty helped get him home earlier this year when Daly’s blood sugar crashed while at an event.

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“The world lost a tremendous person. RIP Chris Beaty,” wrote Daly, who also tweeted “The violence has to stop.”

According to the Indianapolis Star, Beaty died after suffering multiple gunshot wounds during Saturday night’s unrest in downtown Indianapolis. It’s unclear if the shooting was tied to the protests.

Graham Rahal also posted about his interaction with Beaty.

Daly, Rahal and the rest of the IndyCar Series will return to action Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway (8 p.m. ET, NBC).