Brandon Igdalsky, CEO of Pocono Raceway, has stepped away from his post as head of the 2.5-mile triangular oval to move into a new role as Managing Director of Event Marketing and Promotion with NASCAR.
Igdalsky will report to Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer Steve O’Donnell and lead efforts with track partners on event-related initiatives. Further, he will lead the NASCAR-Track Council and be based out of NASCAR’s Daytona Beach, Florida offices.
While he is eager to pursue a new opportunity, Igdalsky expressed gratitude toward the staff at Pocono Raceway and acknowledged their impact on him, both personally and professionally. “Pocono Raceway is in my blood and so are the Pocono Mountains,” said Brandon. “I may not have grown up here in NEPA, but I have grown to love the people and the area. The staff of Pocono is the best in the business and I wish them all the best, but the time and opportunity has come for me to move on. “(My grandfather Dr. Joseph Mattioli) gave me the chance to learn, grow, lead and become the person and leader that I am today. If not for those hard lessons he showed me, I would not be where I am today and I am eternally grateful to him and my family for the chance to do what I do.”
Brandon’s brother, Nick Igdalsky, previously the track’s COO and Senior Vice President, assumes the role of CEO while Ben May, Pocono’s Chief Marketing Officer since 2014, takes on the role of President.
“I am very grateful and excited,” Nick said of the opportunity. “I have observed every aspect of the operation here at Pocono Raceway, starting as a 13 year old, and look forward to working with our incredible team. Our goals remain the same: to create exciting and lifelong experiences at a beautiful and sustainable facility and that will remain our focus.”
The Verizon IndyCar Series returns to Pocono Raceway for the ABC Supply 500 on August 19-20
Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed their new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with US-based Ford Motors in a press event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Team Principle Christian Horner. They are the only Formula 1 team to launch in the United States, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.
“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”
In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.
With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.
In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.
“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.
“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”
Now Verstappen’s thoughts will inevitably turn to establishing a dynasty – and America will again play a pivotal role.
“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said. “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”
Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his principle rival for the championship.
“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.
“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”
Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.