Elton Sawyer Named Vice President of NASCAR Grand Daddy of the Race – Jayski’s NASCAR Silly Season

JULIETE, IL - JULYET 11: Elton Sawyer, Competition Director for Red Bull Racing works on top of his team's camper van during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400 Series on July 11, 2008 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois.  (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) |  Getty Images


JULIETE, IL – JULYET 11: Elton Sawyer, Competition Director for Red Bull Racing works on top of his team’s camper van during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup LifeLock.com 400 Series on July 11, 2008 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/Getty Images for NASCAR) | Getty Images

NASCAR announced today that Elton Sawyer has been named Senior Vice President of Competition, replacing Scott Miller, who will assume the new competition strategic role within the NASCAR Competition Team after more than 40 years in motorsports.

NASCAR has also announced the promotions of several individuals to key positions within the Competition Leadership Team. John Probst was promoted to NASCAR’s Chief Racing Development Officer; Dr. Eric Jacuzzi has been promoted to NASCAR Vice President of Vehicle Performance; Dr. John Patalak has been promoted to NASCAR’s Vice President, Safety Engineering; And Brandon Thomas has been promoted to NASCAR Vice President, Vehicle Design.

“Elton Sawyer has demonstrated incredible versatility during his four decades in motorsports,” said Steve O’Donnell, NASCAR’s Chief Operating Officer. “After his long driving career, Elton has held key leadership positions for several racing teams and here in NASCAR for the past eight seasons. He will excel in this role, and we look forward to watching him continue to grow his competition team during this crucial era in the history of our sport.”

“We are delighted that Scott Miller has chosen to remain an integral part of the NASCAR competition team. When he joined NASCAR in 2016, Scott gave the job instant credibility. A trusted voice in the garage, Scott has used his decades of experience to lead our competition team to new heights during A time that saw a new racing format, a new cancellation format and a new race car. The mark it makes on the organization is significant.

“John Probst’s leadership and relentless dedication to developing the next-generation car over the past three years has been extraordinary. This project was among the most challenging and important endeavors in NASCAR history, and the work of such leaders as Probst, Dr. Eric Jacuzzi, Dr. John Patalak, Brandon Thomas and many more others have worked incredibly hard to not only put this car on the race track, but also make it a success for our industry and our fans.”

Sawyer joined NASCAR in February 2015 as General Manager of the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES. Most recently, he served as NASCAR’s Vice President, Technical Inspection and Administrator, a role he took over in 2016. In this capacity, Sawyer oversaw racing event management, transportation, and NASCAR’s official training and development.

In his new role, Sawyer will oversee all aspects of track competition, inspection, rule development, and administration, with a specific focus on NASCAR’s three national series—the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK Series.

“I’ve been a proud member of this extraordinary team for eight years, and I look forward to continuing to help grow the great competition we’ve had over the past several seasons,” said Sawyer. “NASCAR racing has been my life for decades. I have a deep passion for the sport, and I am honored to be in the position to help the competition team through these exciting times.”

Sawyer began his racing career competing at Langley Speedway in his home state of Virginia. He first appeared on the NASCAR National Series scene in 1983, racing in what is now known as the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Prior to joining NASCAR, Sawyer served as Director of Team Operations for IMSA’s Action Express Racing. He also previously held competition positions at Red Bull Racing and Evernham Motorsports.

Miller decided to step down after seven seasons leading NASCAR’s competitive track team, an era that included transformative growth and some of the toughest competition in the history of the sport.

“After more than 40 years driving around race cars week in and week out, it’s time to step back and look at the next chapter of my motorsport life,” said Miller. “I am grateful to the France family and everyone at NASCAR for the opportunity they gave me seven years ago, and I appreciate the opportunity to stay in the fold to help out however and wherever I can. We have a strong team in NASCAR, and I’m excited to stay a part of it.”

Joining NASCAR in December of 2015, Miller will remain with the sanctioning body as a competition strategist. In this capacity, Miller’s focus will be on various “big picture” special projects such as the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, the NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway and the Chicago Street Course, as well as long distance racing. Planning around NASCAR competition strategy.

Probst, who was recently named Senior Vice President of Racing Innovation, has overseen the development and evolution of the next-generation race car, a groundbreaking innovation that has spawned numerous superlatives on the track—including 19 different race winners. debut season. Probst joined NASCAR in 2016, where he oversees an engineering group that develops and integrates new technology into all aspects of NASCAR competition. Prior to joining NASCAR, Probst spent 10 years as Technical Director for both Chip Ganassi Racing (2011-16) and Red Bull Racing (2006-11). Probst began his career as an engineer for Ford Motor Company in 1994.

Jacuzzi, who runs aerodynamic engineering for NASCAR, joined the sanctioning body after working as a computational aerodynamics expert for Corvid Technologies and was hired by Richard Childress Racing. Since joining NASCAR in 2014, Jacuzzi has led the team tasked with designing aerodynamic elements for racing vehicles for all three national series—including the Next Generation car—as well as the Garage 56 car scheduled to run at the 2023 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Patalak, who has worked at the NASCAR R&D Center since 2005, oversees NASCAR’s safety team, researching, developing and approving driver and vehicle safety systems. In this role, Patalak also investigates all crashes and driver protection issues. Prior to joining NASCAR, John worked for an engineering consulting firm that specialized in crash protection for cars and occupant protection.

Thomas joined NASCAR in 2019 afterward as crew chief and engineer with Richard Childress Racing, Joe Gibbs Racing, Petty Enterprises, Red Bull Racing, and Hall of Fame Racing. Brought into NASCAR to help sponsor the Next Generation project, Thomas has led the day-to-day management of the Next Generation car since the start of the development cycle in 2019.

– NASCAR –

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