Mark Miles completes IMS/IndyCar executive team

Geoff Burke

The promotional and marketing office at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series was completed with the hiring of former NASCAR team owner Jay Frye and Ford executive C.J. O'Donnell.

Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar parent organization Hulman & Co. announced the completion of his executive team which will oversee parts of both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the IndyCar Series.

Jay Frye, a former NASCAR team owner and C.J. O'Donnell, a 20-year Ford Motor Co. executive were named to key positions on Thursday morning.

Frye becomes the chief revenue officer while O'Donnell becomes the chief marketing officer. Frye will lead an increased team of sponsorship sales, licensing accounts while O'Donnell will do the same with marketing and communications.

For his part, Frye hopes to use some of his former NASCAR connections to help achieve growth for the IndyCar Series. He believes the sport is on the up-rise and just needs to be marketed in a different way to achieve the growth that he believes it is deserving of.

"I think with the competition -- the race cars are very cool - there's diversity in the sport with the drivers from 14 different countries, nine different winners this year...," Frye said. "I believe, over the next couple years. I think going into the 2016, the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 is obviously a huge deal, the project with the IMS 100 is a new and great initiative.

"So there's a lot of different new and unique things going on in the sport and in the series that I think will draw eyeballs to it, will bring sponsors into it, and when you look at an IndyCar race, too, from a television perspective, it fits really nicely in a couple‑hour window, which I think is something that's different, and I think it's a selling point on our behalf."

For O'Donnell, building a first class marketing and communications organization within IndyCar and IMS starts with expanding the number of people working in the office and he's received assurances from Miles that this will happen.

"Mark and I have had several conversations about adding capacity to the organization to really develop it into a world‑class marketing and PR team," O'Donnell said. "And then working with that new resource and the commitment that we're going to bring to IndyCar and IMS for the establishment of stronger brand and the ability to build the fan base, back to some of Jay's comments.

"There's a lot of great product out there that we can leverage, and we just need to better develop our message, build our awareness, and allow the product then to speak for itself."

The braintrust at 16th and Georgetown seems to believe that IndyCar has a product worthy of showing off to masses. Now comes the part where they start to get it done.

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