Jay Frye says he immediately raised his hand when Hulman & Company CEO Mark Miles broached the subject of the respected motorsports industry veteran becoming the new INDYCAR president of competition and operations.
That was a number of weeks ago. On Nov. 12, Miles announced the appointment of Frye, will move from chief revenue officer for INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway to his new role with the sanctioning body effective Nov. 16.
Frye, 50, an Illinois native, will be responsible for all operations, competition and technical matters for INDYCAR.
“This is a great league with great people and momentum and I couldn’t be more proud or humbled to be part of it,” Frye said.
Frye said the underpinning of his top line goals is simple: "Don't complicate what doesn't need to be complicated."
"Be a sanctioning body that great racers and race teams want to participate in and are proud to be a part of. We are making great progress in that but there's still more work to be done," he said. "Another goal that we'd like to work on is harness the power of the paddock. We have a phenomenal amount of talent, knowledge, experience in the Verizon IndyCar Series paddock. We need to tap into this on a more regular and consistent basis.
"We also need to build consensus with clear and defined goals for the league. We need to create more value for our teams with smart and well-thought cost containment initiatives. There's many different ways to do that without affecting the great racing product. That could be schedule, testing days at the track, league buying power, work with our great partners at Chevy, Honda, Firestone to offer efficiencies to the teams.
"A third top line goal would be Race Control as a whole. Officiating for any league is a challenge. Even with instant replay and challenges that the coaches have, there's still debate on whether the result was conclusive or not. One of the things we want to try to do as a league is minimize the debate. We're going to provide the best possible tools and regular and consistent training to the officials and stewards. We'll create a consistent platform where the infractions have a clear and concise consequence that the competitors understand and are aware of."
Frye will report to Miles, who will set strategy and oversee all aspects of the series. Brian Barnhart remains vice president of competition, Vince Kremer remains vice president of operations and Will Phillips continues as vice president of technology. They will report to Frye.
“Jay Frye’s resume is perfectly aligned with our organization’s strategic vision,” Miles said. “He has both series and team experience, having successfully transformed and led Red Bull Racing and MB2 Motorsports before joining Hulman Motorsports. As our new president of competition and operations, he is ready to ensure the Verizon IndyCar Series continues to present great racing.”
Frye takes over for Derrick Walker, who resigned in August. The 16-race Verizon IndyCar Series 2016 season starts March 11-13 with the Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg. A first-ever street course race in the heart of Boston, a return to racing at Phoenix International Raceway and Road America, and the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race are season highlights.
Video: Frye talks about his motorsports background and what he sees in INDYCAR's future
Miles said he surveyed Verizon IndyCar Series team owners and received unilateral support for the choice of Frye.
“Jay Frye’s vast understanding of our industry’s entire field of play, developed most especially through his strong work in NASCAR, makes him uniquely prepared for this new opportunity,” said Roger Penske, owner of Penske Racing. “He understands our technical and competition issues and he will develop solutions that work for fans, teams and the series. As the new president of competition and operations, he is prepared to ensure INDYCAR’s positive momentum keeps moving forward.”
Added Chip Ganassi, owner of Chip Ganassi Racing Teams: “Jay Frye brings an exceptional resume, tireless work ethic and proven ability to produce results to his new role with INDYCAR. “During our years competing against each other in NASCAR, I witnessed firsthand Jay’s ability to successfully run a top-notch organization. He’s a proven leader and as a team owner I am excited to work with him as we embark upon a truly monumental season.”
As CRO since November 2013, Frye led the combined team of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway sponsorship sales, licensing and account services. In 2014, the team secured the series title sponsorship agreement with Verizon, as well as the addition and expansion of several other corporate partners including TAG Heuer and Angie’s List.
Taking over Frye’s vacated position will be Rod Davis, formerly serving in senior executive roles with the Indiana Sports Corporation, USA Gymnastics, RCA Championships and USA Swimming.
Throughout his career Davis has secured nearly $100 million in revenue through sponsorships, broadcast revenue and event fees while working with top global brands such as Panasonic, Coca-Cola, John Hancock, VISA and adidas. After founding Davis Sports Marketing a decade ago, he has represented leading organizations such as the NCAA, University of Notre Dame, Dale Earnhardt Inc. and USA Track & Field.
“As our new Chief Revenue Officer, Rod Davis will successfully execute sponsorship deals already in the pipeline and find new partnerships to increase revenue and market share,” said Miles. “His proven ability to build mutually beneficial relationships with leading Fortune 500 companies will pay dividends for both IMS and the Verizon IndyCar Series.”