Jay Frye’s inaugural year as president of INDYCAR in 2019 signaled a new era for North America’s premier open-wheel sanctioning body with impactful moves in essential facets of the sport.
Frye, named president in December of 2018 after spending the previous three years as INDYCAR’s president of competition and operations, made significant contributions in his new position from the outset. They were highlighted by securing a new series title sponsorship and the development of a revolutionary safety innovation for enhanced driver cockpit protection.
For his accomplishments and leadership, he was recognized by Autosport on its prestigious 2019 Motorsports Power List covering the 50 most powerful people in global motorsport.
Prior to the 2019 season, Frye was instrumental in bringing NTT, a Fortune Global 500 informational technology and communications leader, into a new partnership as the series title sponsor. This multi-year deal has been pivotal to the continued growth of the series.
Last May, Frye spearheaded a partnership with Red Bull Advanced Technologies to design the Aeroscreen, an industry-changing, total driver cockpit safety solution. The Aeroscreen, which consists of a titanium frame and ballistic screen that now encompasses the cockpit area, had multiple, successful on-track test sessions beginning in October and the safety component will be instituted for the 2020 season.
In addition, in 2016, Frye introduced an effective rolling five-year plan that serves as a strategic blueprint and assists in cost containment for the teams moving into the future. It allows current teams to effectively plan and manage for the future while giving potential new teams or competition-related partners a financial scope of the costs to enter the series. The impetus for the plan was built around the introduction and successful implementation of the AK-18 universal aero kits.
Overall, Frye’s responsibilities as INDYCAR president include leading all operations, competition, technical matters, marketing and communications for the NTT INDYCAR SERIES.
Frye joined the company in 2013 as chief revenue officer of Hulman Motorsports and led the combined team of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway sponsorship sales, licensing and account services. Prior to joining Hulman & Co., Frye flourished in team management roles in the NASCAR industry.
He was vice president and general manager for Red Bull Racing’s NASCAR team (2008-2011), which, with drivers Brian Vickers and Kasey Kahne, produced two points-paying wins, 10 poles and a Cup playoff berth in 2009. During his first year, Red Bull Racing won the Showdown at Charlotte, launched its own in-house chassis program and Vickers earned the organization’s first pole at Michigan International Speedway. Frye was named 2008 NASCAR Executive of the Year by ESPN and the Kansas City Star. A year later came two monumental achievements – a playoff berth and the team’s first victory by Vickers at Michigan.
From 1996-2007, Frye was chief executive officer and general manager of MB2 Motorsports. During his tenure, MB2 earned two wins, nine poles and 95 top-10 finishes from a driver lineup that included Mark Martin, Ken Schrader, Ernie Irvan, Sterling Marlin, Joe Nemechek, Johnny Benson and Jerry Nadeau. Under his leadership, the organization grew from a single-car NASCAR Cup team of 10 employees in an 8,000-square-foot shop to a multicar operation with more than 200 employees in a 180,000-square-foot shop in Mooresville, N.C.
It was a crowning achievement for Frye, who built this organization from the ground up as a then-31-year-old executive and eventually merged with Dale Earnhardt, Inc. at the conclusion of the 2007 season.
In July 2000, Frye led an industry first when MB2 purchased a second team - Tyler Jet Motorsports - and negotiated a sponsorship/ownership package with the Valvoline Company. Valvoline became the first consumer products company to double up as a primary sponsor and owner with a 50 percent share of the team. Frye also was instrumental in securing sponsorship deals for MB2 with elite brands such as M&M Mars, U.S. Army, Waste Management and Chevrolet.
Prior to his executive roles with NASCAR teams, Frye worked at Valvoline Racing and his extensive sales and marketing experience began with a variety of roles at Anheuser-Busch Inc.
Frye, a native of Rock Island, Illinois, graduated with a marketing/education degree from the University of Missouri, where he played tight end and offensive tackle for four years on the Tigers’ football team. He and his wife, Danielle, have two daughters.