The heads of NASCAR's lower-tier series were shuffled Tuesday in a move the sanctioning body said will strengthen its organization.
Joe Balash, the Nationwide Series director since 2004, will now become NASCAR's "International Competition Liason." That's a new role serving as the main point of contact for everything related to NASCAR's touring series in Mexico, Canada and Europe.
In his place, longtime Camping World Truck Series director Wayne Auton (who had been in charge since the series started in 1995) will move up to the Nationwide Series. Former driver Chad Little will move from Whelen Modified Tour director to become Truck Series director.
"We recently completed a thorough, strategic review of all of our racing series and believe the changes we're announcing today will further strengthen our overall racing and offer us the best opportunity for growth," NASCAR vice president of competition Robin Pemberton said. "Joe is terrific at building relationships with track operators, sponsors and other key stakeholders, and he will be an excellent fit in his new role."
John Darby, who said he was stepping down from Sprint Cup Series director before the 2010 season (not a misprint), will remain in that role again for 2013.
It's tough to tell what impact these moves will have on the Nationwide and Truck Series. Auton certainly has a different leadership style than Balash, and Little will have a shot at running a much bigger circuit.
If Balash can help NASCAR grow internationally, then the decision will certainly be considered a success.