Steve Phelps was appointed President of the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR), North America’s leading motorsport, in September, 2018. Only the fifth individual to hold this position, Phelps oversees all operations for the sanctioning body, its 15 racetrack facilities and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) sports car series.
Under Phelps’ leadership, NASCAR has transformed its business and strengthened the sport’s position for long-term growth and success, with a focus on delivering the best motorsports racing in the world, providing outstanding entertainment experiences, and building a global community of loyal fans. The transformation of NASCAR under Phelps’ stewardship resulted in landmark broadcast rights agreements commencing in 2025 with FOX, NBC, Amazon Prime Video, Warner Bros Discovery and the CW. The 7-year partnerships were the result of Phelps’ focused, long-term strategic plan, providing the industry with financial stability and positioning the sport for continued success.
In 2019, in his first full year as President, Phelps led NASCAR through the sanctioning body’s landmark merger with International Speedway Corporation (ISC), integrating its operations into one, new, unified company with 15 racetracks across the country. The historic merger helped create an aligned vision for the sport while positioning a now stronger NASCAR for new growth opportunities.
The following year, Phelps guided NASCAR through its most challenging and unprecedented season to date. NASCAR swiftly implemented COVID-19 safety protocols to become the first sport to return to competition, first to safely welcome back fans and first to complete a full season schedule. Additionally, NASCAR emerged as a leading voice in the national conversation on racial equality and social justice, with Phelps rallying the NASCAR industry to reaffirm its commitment to diversity and inclusion. Under Phelps’ leadership, NASCAR introduced sweeping social changes across the sport – critical efforts that led to a surge of new fans, partners and diverse race team ownership. In recognition of this strategic shift and its immediate success, NASCAR earned Sports Business Journal’s coveted League of the Year award in 2021.
With Phelps at the helm, the sanctioning body refocused its priorities to ensure that a best-in-class racing experience is delivered to NASCAR fans on a weekly basis at track, at home or on the go. Through increased collaboration and consensus-building with the industry, NASCAR in 2021 unveiled the sport’s most dynamic new race schedule in 50 years featuring several new venues, markets and track layouts. That same year, NASCAR introduced the Next Gen race car – the most technologically advanced car in NASCAR history and a testament to the sport’s ongoing commitment to innovation. These changes led to one of the best NASCAR Cup Series seasons to date, with 2022 setting new records for both total individual race winners and total green flag passes for the lead, all while delivering a near-record average margin of victory of 1.011 seconds.
The success of this strategic transformation culminated on numerous fronts in 2023, with NASCAR running its first-ever street race in Chicago over 4th of July weekend, introducing its fourth international series with the NASCAR Brazil Series, and launching NASCAR IMPACT, the sports’ social responsibility and sustainability platform. Notably, under Phelps’ direction, NASCAR committed to a number of important sustainability benchmarks, including the goal of net zero operating carbon emissions by 2035.
Phelps joined NASCAR as Vice President of Corporate Marketing in 2005. Beginning the following year, he spent 12 years as Chief Marketing Officer and oversaw all marketing functions for the sanctioning body. He was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in April 2018 before transitioning to his current role as President.
During his time at NASCAR, Phelps has won Adweek’s prestigious Sports Marketing Executive of the Year and was named its Brand Genius Award winner in the “sports” category. In recognition of his leadership elevating the sport, Phelps has been a finalist multiple times for SBJ’s Executive of the Year, as well as regularly being named to SBJ’s “Most Influential People in Sports Business” list.
Prior to joining NASCAR, Phelps was Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Wasserman. In 1990, Phelps began a 14-year tenure at the National Football League where he served as Vice President, Corporate Marketing. A native of Vermont, Phelps resides in Daytona Beach, Florida and has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Vermont and an MBA from Boston College.