Daytona in Good Hands with Frank Kelleher at Helm

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – Taking on the role as President of the historic Daytona International Speedway comes with a huge responsibility. And, despite growing up following all kinds of racing, being part of the NASCAR landscape since 2002 starting as a DIS intern, selling corporate sponsorships and traveling the circuit for decades – Frank Kelleher thought he had a good idea what he was getting into when taking the job.

And, that’s not a bad thing because Kelleher relishes every aspect of his role as they reveal themselves to him since April 2021

The native of Scranton, PA grew up in his family’s garage business and has been part of the NASCAR industry for years in various corporate sales capacities. When former DIS President Chip While was promoted, Kelleher was then promoted to his current position.

Less than a year at the helm, Kelleher can boast a very successful Rolex 24 with good crowds to his credit. Six weeks ago, DIS announced all reserved seats and camping was sold out. Early this week, the track added Fan Zone, Suites and more were sold out, as well.

“It was a huge honor a month-and-a-half ago when all grandstand admissions and the infield camping were already sold out,” Kelleher said during Media Day at DIS on Wednesday. “To me, I think it’s bigger than Daytona International Speedway because every stakeholder in the sport wins with news like this. Whether you’re a team owner, Fox Sports, NBC TV or a sponsor speaks to the health of our sport.

“We provide an amazing and thrilling guest experience. The fact it was sold out so early speaks to the excitement of the Next Gen car, as well. I’m thrilled for the industry, as a whole.”

With that sell out, comes a huge responsibility to make sure that fan experience exceeds returning and new fans, while focusing on them having a good experience. Supply and labor shortages are top of the news topics right now. That forces extra planning and procedures be put in place with the daunting crowd headed to DIS for the Great American Race.

“We are not immune to any of the crisis when it comes to the labor and supply chain issues,” Kelleher said. “The good news is we’ve been preparing for it since we dropped the checkered flag on the August 2021 race here.

“Levy, our first-in class food and beverage company, has a national footprint. So, we get to lean on their entire network. We’ve been hosting numerous job fairs leading up to this weekend. If we need 700 jobs filled, we’re making sure we have 1,000 people on deck to make sure we can do it right.

“We’re ready to roll for everything this weekend. Merchandise is definitely an area where we needed to be way ahead on the purchasing. We were placing order months ahead of what was normal for the Rolex 24.”

Kelleher thought…thought…he knew all that was needed to take over as President of DIS having been around the industry and tracks for years. He also has some racing experience behind the wheel as two-time World Karting Association Champion.

Good to go, all set, let’s go…right?

“When I think back to when I started with my eyes wide open to the business side of it,” Kelleher said. “For the last 18 years selling sponsorships, being to so many NASCAR races, World of Outlaws shows and dirt tracks; I’m still a big supporter of the grassroots. I thought I had an understanding of how to run an event.

“Man, was I wrong.

“The operational aspect of the upkeep of DIS, from the grass to power and cable and traffic flows ingress and egress, to relationships with the mayor, the fire and police and everything that goes on in Tallahassee (Capitol of Florida) – I’m still just blown away by it all.

“It’s been fun, though. I’m surrounded by amazing people that work here and the France family’s support of it all.

“It’s just exciting to be working in the sport I love for almost 20 years now.”

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