NASCAR has named Brent Dewar as chief operating officer effective Jan. 6. Dewar retired from General Motors in April 2010 after holding some leadership posts, mostly at Chevrolet. Since exiting GM, Dewar has been a consultant for a number of firms, including NASCAR. In a statement, NASCAR chief executive Brian France said that Dewar is a seasoned leader with deep experience in the automotive sector as well as someone with intimate knowledge of and passion for NASCAR.
NASCAR said that Dewar’s appointment will allow France to focus on “setting the vision for NASCAR” and implementing “key growth initiatives.” Dewar's appointment comes as NASCAR’s TV ratings have been struggling for nearly a decade, down between 10 and 20 percent since 2008. NASCAR is also experiencing slumping attendance. NASCAR oversees races like Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400, featuring heavily modified production cars.
NASCAR's racetrack in Indianapolis has a seating capacity of 250,000 people, but only around 70,000 fans attended the Brickyard 400 in July. France remarked that Dewar is a leader who is naturally collaborative -- an essential trait in working with the OEMs, teams, tracks, broadcast partners and others "to grow the sport over the next decade.”