NASCAR is embarking on a bold, new venture and they’ve hired the perfect leader to take the reins.
The Arizona Republic has learned NASCAR will announce on Thursday that Julie Giese is returning to her midwestern roots and being named track president of the sport’s first street course in downtown Chicago.
“It’s a tremendous honor for me,” Giese told the Republic. “It’s exciting to get back to an area that I know incredibly well and to be part of something that is truly going to be one of the biggest sporting events of 2023. This is another bold and innovative move for NASCAR and I’m just looking forward to what’s ahead.”
The opportunity arose for Giese through her role as NASCAR’s vice president of Track Marketing. In addition to helping bring the sport to Los Angeles this season with the Busch Light Clash at the Coliseum, she was heavily involved from the early stages of development in determining whether racing in the Windy City was feasible.
Since taking over as Phoenix Raceway’s track president in November 2018, Giese is not only responsible for the $178 million renovation that transformed the one-mile track into the world-class facility it is today, but also turning Avondale into a flourishing market that embraces its motorsports lineage.
To put it simply, Giese set the standard for leaders across NASCAR, and it’s no surprise she was the one chosen to ensure a successful event in the third-largest city in the United States.
“I think when you look at what we’ve done in Phoenix with the championship, the partnerships and relationships that we have in the community, those are the types of things that we want to bring to Chicago,” Giese said. “We want to be a partner, we want to be a community resident, we want to give back, and we want to be there 365 days a year.
“For me, it’s an opportunity to continue doing that in Chicago.”
Giese’s mission in assuming the role as track president in Chicago will span far beyond hosting one of the most unique events in NASCAR’s 74-year history. Her active involvement across communities was a key contributor as to why the pairing made sense.
She’s proven her dedication to the community by serving as a board member and co-chair for many organizations across Arizona, including the Phoenix Children’s Hospital Foundation and Boys & Girls Club of the Valley.
Chip Wile, NASCAR’s chief track property officer, has known Giese for over a decade and taken a deep admiration for her dedication to improving the sport and communities wherever she goes.
“Every step along the way in Julie’s career, she’s made such an impact in the local communities in which she’s lived and worked, and that’s going to be really critically important at Chicago,” Wile told The Republic. “Julie just seemed like the right fit based on her prior experience and things she’s been able to accomplish.
“The things she’s been able to accomplish in such a short period of time at Phoenix, and transforming how that community looks at the racetrack and looks at NASCAR, is solely because of the commitment that she’s made to the Phoenix market and to the people that work at Phoenix Raceway.”
With the opportunity of a lifetime comes a bittersweet compromise, as Giese will no longer be the track president of Phoenix Raceway beyond 2022. What she’s done for the track and city of Avondale is nothing short of spectacular, leaving infinite possibilities for her next chapter.
“It was an incredibly difficult decision,” Giese said. “I love Phoenix Raceway, I love being a part of The Valley of the Sun, I love our race fans. Phoenix Raceway continues to be tremendously successful and I know they’re going to continue that on. “We’re going to have some fun here over the next few months and have a great NASCAR Championship Weekend.”
Giese’s term as president of Phoenix Raceway will officially transition following the Cup Series finale on Nov. 6, but the date will be fluid based on locking down a new leader. In the meantime, she’s looking forward to helping in the search to find her successor and preparing for Championship Weekend.
NASCAR’s regular season concludes at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday at 4 p.m. and will be aired in Arizona on AZ Family 3TV.
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