In recognition of outstanding service and performance on behalf of Speedway Motorsports and its world-class entertainment facilities, company officials recognized the 2023 Speedway Motorsports recipients for the O. Bruton Smith Award, Promoter of the Year, Speedway of the Year and the Acceleration Award. Announcements were made at The Twelve Thirty Club in Nashville, where the NASCAR industry is celebrating Champions’ Week.
“Each year our company strives to exceed expectations for fans, corporate clients and industry stakeholders as we produce world-class sports and entertainment events,” said Marcus Smith, president and CEO of Speedway Motorsports. “It is an honor to recognize some of our exceptional leaders and the performances of our teams across the country. 2023 was an exceptional year and I am grateful for the hard work and dedication our teammates put forth to achieve our success.”
Bruton Smith Award
Speedway Motorsports Chief Financial Officer Michael Hodge received the 2023 O. Bruton Smith Award.
Created 11 years ago to recognize one employee annually across all of Speedway Motorsports and its subsidiaries, the recipient of this prestigious award is someone who exhibits Speedway Motorsports’ founder O. Bruton Smith’s traits: character, enthusiasm, drive, a heart for helping others, respect/appreciation for team members, vision and determination.
A 16-year veteran with the company, Hodge is responsible for overseeing the company’s financial strategy, reporting and analysis. Hodge joined Speedway Motorsports in 2006 and has served in various financial management positions with the company. Prior to joining Speedway Motorsports, he worked as an Audit and Assurance Manager at Deloitte, where he specialized in serving publicly traded and privately held companies in the motorsports and automotive retail industries. Hodge holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and is a Certified Public Accountant.
“The O. Bruton Smith Award is the highest individual honor given to a member of our company,” said Smith. “The fans and sponsors who attend our events may not see the fruit of Michael’s labor, but his dedication and hard work behind the scenes is critical to our success. I’m so thankful for Michael’s insights and counsel. He and his accounting teams across our company are unsung heroes in our operation, and I’m honored to bring this recognition to Michael Hodge for his many contributions.”
Promoter of the Year
Charlotte Motor Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Greg Walter was named Promoter of the Year for the second consecutive time. The annual award is chosen by the selection committee and given to one Speedway Motorsports general manager who best displayed the creativity, innovation, leadership and execution that are fundamental to Speedway Motorsports’ way of doing business.
Walter and his CMS team again hosted a sold-out Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day Weekend plus fostered year-over-year revenue growth for the Circle K NHRA Four-Wide Nationals, World of Outlaws World Finals and dramatic growth in non-event week camping. Under Walter’s direction, the Charlotte Motor Speedway team also hosted the first-ever Super Motocross World Championship Playoffs at zMAX Dragway.
Walter expanded his governmental relations efforts with local and state leaders to secure licenses for sports betting at both Charlotte Motor Speedway and North Wilkesboro Speedway. He also tirelessly promotes North Carolina motorsports as chair of the North Carolina Motorsports Association, encouraging government officials to recognize the industry’s value as an economic and tourism driver.
“Greg is an exceptional leader and promoter—not only telling all the fans about the great things both on and off the track that happen at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but also making sure our local and state officials know how our events drive tourism spending at Charlotte and North Wilkesboro,” Smith said. “Greg is also a dedicated team-builder who promotes a culture of growth and improvement at Charlotte Motor Speedway and amongst our executive leadership team every week.”
Speedway of the Year
Las Vegas Motor Speedway received Speedway of the Year recognition among 11 state-of-the-art Speedway Motorsports entertainment complexes. The award was presented to LVMS President and General Manager Chris Powell for the best overall performance during 2023 in such aspects as fan friendliness, attendance, financial performance, sponsor relations and creativity.
In presenting the award, Speedway Motorsports Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Mike Burch pointed to the facility’s outstanding performance in generating revenue, including a record year for the Electric Daisy Carnival multi-day music festival.
“In addition to producing exceptional NASCAR and NHRA races, Las Vegas Motor Speedway excels in recruiting non-traditional events and corporate engagement throughout the year,” Burch said. “Chris and his team are dedicated to growing that very significant part of our business, and LVMS continues to be an inspiration for all of our facilities to drive us forward in that direction.”
Texas Motor Speedway received the second annual Acceleration Award, presented to a subsidiary in recognition of year-over-year improvement across a number of different metrics. Texas Motor Speedway Senior Vice President and General Manager Mark Faber accepted the award on behalf of the TMS team.
In 2023 under Faber’s first full year at the helm of The Great American Speedway, Texas Motor Speedway showed significant revenue growth surrounding the EchoPark Automotive 400 NASCAR Playoff race, hosted the Gordy’s Hwy 30 Music Fest (Texas edition) and engaged fans in ‘everything’s bigger in Texas’ fashion with the 3,000-foot long Belly-Up Bar and a new “Bigger Hoss” giant HDTV spanning 22,692 square-feet. Several members of the Texas Motor Speedway staff also supported Speedway Motorsports production of the EchoPark Automotive Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas.
“Texas Motor Speedway rolled up its sleeves, put in the work and re-established itself as an entertainment destination in 2023,” added Smith. “I’m excited to see how Mark and his team accelerate their momentum into 2024.”
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