NASCAR Hires Tracey Lesetar-Smith as Senior Vice President and General Counsel

NASCAR announced today that Tracey Lesetar-Smith has been named Senior Vice President, General Counsel. In her new role, Lesetar-Smith will lead day-to-day operations of the sanctioning body’s legal and public affairs operations at company headquarters in Daytona Beach, Fla.

After more than two decades of service, longtime NASCAR executive Karen Leetzow will step down from her role as Senior Vice President and General Counsel at year end. Leetzow, who announced her intention to depart last year but agreed to remain to facilitate the merger between NASCAR and ISC, has guided NASCAR’s overarching legal strategy across key business areas such as intellectual property, litigation, antitrust and general corporate law.  

“What an incredible experience it has been to work at NASCAR and with the France family over the past two decades. I am very proud of what we have collectively achieved and feel thankful to have led one of the best legal teams in all of sports,” said Karen Leetzow. “This decision did not come easy, but it’s time for me to explore new challenges and I am excited for what the future holds.” 

 “Karen’s leadership, legal expertise and operational acumen have been invaluable over the past 20 years. She’s been a critical member of our senior leadership team and guided us through significant changes across our business operations. We wish Karen well on her future endeavors and appreciate her tremendous contributions to the sport, she will be dearly missed,” said Gary Crotty, Chief Legal Officer, NASCAR and ISC. “We are excited to welcome Tracey to the NASCAR family. She brings a wealth of experience in sports and corporate law and a tremendous passion and enthusiasm for the future success of our sport.”    

Lesetar-Smith has spent the past eight years as General Counsel and Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs for Bellator MMA, building and leading the legal team and expanding her oversight to additional sports properties within the Viacom portfolio over the past five years. She was responsible for Bellator’s global content distribution rights and oversaw contracts, international property expansion, litigation, production, and intellectual property rights, among other key business operations. Prior to Bellator, she was an attorney at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

“I look forward to joining this highly-talented team and I am confident we will have continued success in the years ahead,” said Lesetar-Smith. “I am excited to become a member of the leadership group at NASCAR and for the opportunities this role will afford to positively position the sport for future growth.”

Lesetar-Smith’s first day will be October 14 and she will assume the full responsibilities of General Counsel upon Leetzow’s departure at year end.