01/20 06:59 CST SRX hires Hawk as CEO to grow budding motorsports property
SRX hires Hawk as CEO to grow budding motorsports property
By JENNA FRYER
AP Auto Racing Writer
Tony Stewart and Ray Evernham will have a boss in the second season of the
Superstar Racing Experience, a made-for-CBS all-star summer series coming off a
surprisingly strong debut.
SRX on Thursday named Don Hawk its first chief executive, a day-to-day role
with a job description that covers just about everything. The six-race series
was designed to fill otherwise-empty Saturday night CBS programming, but it was
an instant hit and almost immediately too big for co-creators Stewart and
SRX said the CEO is responsible for "all series strategy, operations, and
business development, including media, sales and marketing, personnel, track
relationships, local events, competition, driver and crew chief relations,
rules, safety, and international expansion."
"SRX is coming off a great first year with a lot of momentum, and I couldn't be
more thrilled to have Hawk take on this new role for us," said Stewart, a
three-time NASCAR champion. "He's incredibly well-respected in every corner of
racing and someone I've worked with and admired for years."
SRX was conceived by Stewart and Evernham, both NASCAR Hall of Famers, as a
present-day series that pitted all-star drivers against one another in
Evernaham's equally-prepared cars. They dreamed of recreating the old
International Race of Champions series, an idea backed by both Sandy Montag,
CEO of the Montag Group, and Bruin Capital CEO George Pyne.
Much of SRX's first-season success centered around the idea this was just
televised racing for fun. Stewart and Evernham could tweak rules along the way
and often followed fan reaction in their adjustments. By the sixth and final
race, then-NASCAR champion Chase Elliott beat his 65-year-old father the night
before a Cup race and Stewart was crowned the first series champion on a
Saturday night at sold-old Nashville Fairgrounds in Tennessee.
For a successful second season, SRX will need some formalities and turned to
Hawk to produce the show going forward. SRX said Hawk begins immediately and
"reports to the Executive Board of Ray Evernham, Tony Stewart, George Pyne, and
Hawk has spent more than three decades in industry leadership roles, notably as
the force behind the late Dale Earnhardt's business success, and most recently
at Speedway Motorsports, where he is a longtime trusted confidant of founder
Hawk and Speedway Motorsports went their separate ways near the end of 2021 and
Hawk said he was launching his own consulting firm. Not even a month into the
new year he's now running a hot motorsports property.
"I love racing and I love business, that's all I've ever done my entire life.
Car business and race car business before and after college," Hawk said. "I
can't retire. I enjoy this too much."
He called SRX a "breakout hit" because of "its completely new approach" and
promised an exciting driver lineup and upcoming schedule announcement. SRX last
year raced at six hallowed short tracks across the U.S. on multiple surfaces. A
local ringer was invited into the field each race as SRX tried to promote
SRX succeeded in spotlighting drivers from lesser known racing series: Doug
Coby, a local racer who won the inaugural race, earned a Truck Series start at
Bristol and finished 12th in his first NASCAR national series race.
Additionally, nationally unknown Ernie Francis Jr. of the Trans Am Series had
his story told by CBS to a bored summer audience and is now set to drive in
Indy Lights, one series below IndyCar. It's part of the Race for Equality and
Change in IndyCar and Francis seems on a tract set by Roger Penske to become
the series' only Black driver.
"Like so many others, I was a big fan of the concept and execution led by Ray,
Tony, Sandy, and George," Hawk said. "I'm beyond excited to join the SRX team
and help SRX as it continues to find its niche as a non-traditional form of
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