Ex-Gamecocks SID Tharp to lead Darlington Raceway

tharpDarlington Raceway announced today that it has named Kerry Tharp as President of the track Too Tough To Tame, effective July 18. Tharp accepts the role from his most recent position as Senior Director of Racing Communications for NASCAR.

Tharp replaces current Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile, who accepted the position of President of Daytona International Speedway back in April.

“These are exciting times for Darlington Raceway and Kerry Tharp is the perfect person to lead one of the most historic tracks on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series circuit,” International Speedway Corp. Executive Vice President and COO Joie Chitwood said. “His appreciation of our sport, knowledge of the industry and passion for South Carolina are unmatched. Kerry will do a great job leading the Darlington Raceway team and continuing to build upon their celebrated throwback marketing campaign.”

Tharp, a Louisville, Ky. native, joined NASCAR in April of 2005 after a successful 20-year career as Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations for the University of South Carolina (1985-2005) in Columbia. He worked for 26 total years in intercollegiate athletics prior to joining NASCAR. He also served two years at the University of Tennessee and four years at the University of Oklahoma, prior to the University of South Carolina.

Since 2005, Tharp has played an integral role in the communications efforts for NASCAR, having forged strong relationships for the sanctioning body with the drivers, race teams and tracks.

“I am deeply humbled and honored to have this opportunity,” Tharp said. “I love the state of South Carolina and its people. I know how special Darlington Raceway is to this state and to the sport of NASCAR. The track’s rich tradition, history, and popularity resonate with the competitors, partners, media and most importantly the fans. I look forward to working with our team to help keep Darlington as one of our sport’s crown jewels.”

Tharp holds a Bachelor’s Degree in public relations from Western Kentucky University and a Master’s Degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. He has been a resident of South Carolina for over 31 years. He has been married to his wife, Debbie, for 33 years and they have two children (J.B. and Will) and two grandsons.

The Tradition Continues on Labor Day weekend as the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Bojangles’ Southern 500® is set for Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016. The NASCAR XFINITY Series VFW Sport Clips Help A Hero 200 will race on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2016.

Photo courtesy of Darlington Raceway

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