Tharp a solid choice to run the track Too Tough To Tame

col-cathyelliottI’m trying to figure out why anyone would want to be the president of anything.

Take the United States, for example. When election time rolls around, the winner – and I use that term loosely – is tasked with smoothing the ruffled feathers and balancing the checkbook of a diverse nation which has now become so cynical that the “Show me what you’ve got” attitude has replaced “We’re so glad you’re here” in the collective conversation.

When Mitt Romney ran for president in 2012, his platform was based on a plan to run the country like a business. Not only did he vow to make America great again, but he explained exactly how he was going to do it.

I liked that concept (although the majority of American voters did not), but realistically, it must be awfully difficult to become the president of something overnight, kind of like moving into someone else’s house and trying to figure out where they keep the Doritos, and how to cook with gas rather than electricity. Imagine Bill Gates walking into the corporate offices of Apple and saying “Hey, y’all, here I am.” Chaos.

Long story short, “top dog” turnovers can be stressful, from the Oval Office to – you knew it was coming – the president’s office at a legendary NASCAR speedway.

In case you missed it, Darlington Raceway has a new president. The track “Too Tough To Tame” announced on June 29 that Kerry Tharp would be taking over the seat vacated by Chip Wile, who was recently named president of Daytona International Speedway. Tharp will be Darlington’s fifth president since 2000, following in the racing grooves of Jim Hunter, Andrew Gurtis, Chris Browning, and Wile.

At this point you might be thinking that Darlington Raceway is beginning to sound a little bit like Elizabeth Taylor in the marriage department, but I have to tell you, I think this one might stick around for a while.

Tharp has an impressive sports resume, having worked at the University of Tennessee and the University of Oklahoma, but Gamecock fans will probably best remember him as the associate athletic director for media relations at the University of South Carolina, a position he held for 20 years before being snatched up by NASCAR, where he was the senior director of racing communications.

“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.”

This is a guy with staying power.

This is also a guy tasked with overseeing one of NASCAR’s most successful marketing initiatives in recent memory, the hugely popular and award-winning “throwback” campaign. Daunting? A little bit, but if you’re looking for a guy who doesn’t back down from a challenge, you’ve found one. There is a reason, after all, why Tharp is affectionately referred to throughout NASCAR as “Commander.”

Darlington Raceway has been busy since 2000: Regrouping and reorganizing with a new president every three to five years. Losing one of her two annual race weekends. Losing the Labor Day weekend race, the most historic weekend in NASCAR history. Being given a Mother’s Day weekend event, formerly known in the industry as the “unsellable date” (Darlington sold it out). Branding the Mother’s Day race as a beloved family event, then losing it. Bringing the legendary Southern 500 back to Labor Day, and making it one of the must-see events of the year. It’s enough to make a girl break down and cry, and it has. More than once.

It takes a strong and experienced hand to navigate such a complicated ship. Fortunately, the “Lady in Black” has been given a strong and experienced commander to take on the task, allowing me to say with complete confidence that Darlington’s 1.366-mile egg-shaped Oval Office is in very good hands indeed.

Cathy Elliott is the former director of public relations for Darlington Raceway and author of the book Darlington Raceway: Too Tough To Tame.

Comments

comments

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestones

CA's Green, Jones reach major hoops milestonesThe Christian Academy of Myrtle Beach basketball programs celebrated a [more]

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kids

CCU makes another poll, hosts free clinic for kidsThe Coastal Carolina baseball team received another top 25 preseason [more]

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide

Conway's Moody makes mark as freshman for Tide The national championship game didn’t turn out the way Jaylen [more]

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red Foxes

Hoops: Chiefs tip Falcons; MB, Knox rock Red FoxesMyrtle Beach's Emorie Knox erupted for 32 points Tuesday night [more]

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with Mavs

Chants fall short on final shot in skirmish with MavsJunior guard Rashad Davis hit a 3-pointer with less than [more]

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'Dogs

Hoops: Green lifts Saints; Seahawks rally past 'DogsOn a night chosen to recognize a milestone for Christian [more]

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title run

All-County Volleyball: NMB duo adds to state-title runHow do you choose between two state championship teammates and [more]

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coach

Vincent breaks new ground as NMB boys hoops coachA referee approached the North Myrtle Beach High boys basketball [more]

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 season

CCU baseball joins another Top 25 list for 2019 seasonWith just over five weeks until the season opener on [more]

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 season

Pelicans, Cubs make over field staff for 2019 seasonThe Myrtle Beach  Pelicans and parent club Chicago Cubs announced their on‐field staff for the 2019 season on Wednesday. New to Myrtle Beach this season, Jimmy Gonzalez will take the helm for the Pelicans following four seasons managing the Single-A South Bend Cubs. The 2016 Midwest League Manager of the Year with South Bend, Gonzalez was  [more]

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top Sharks

Hoops: Falcons fly by MB; Tigers rally to top SharksCraig Martin walked off the court at the end of [more]

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championship

Tigers crush Crimson Tide for national championshipClemson captured its third national football championship - and its [more]

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart league

CCU alums Ross, Johnson pioneers in upstart leagueFormer Coastal Carolina football players Alex Ross and Kerron Johnson [more]

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USA

Jags drop Chants in 2OT; Lady Chants lose to USAFour players reached double digits for Coastal Carolina, but it [more]

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with Chiefs

Hoops: Braves sweep CF; Seahawks split with ChiefsSocastee scored a big road victory in its Region 6-5A [more]

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with Troy

CCU Hoops: Road teams win SBC debuts with TroyTyrell Gumbs-Frater scored a game-high 20 points as Coastal Carolina [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for title

Beach Ball Classic, Day 6: Comets top Cards for titleMonday's Beach Ball Classic championship game didn't feature the offensive [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark

Beach Ball Classic, Day 4/5: CA's Green leaves his mark This week's Beach Ball Classic has been a memorable one [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chin

Beach Ball Classic, Day 3: MB takes one on the chinMyrtle Beach went toe-to-toe with St. Edward (OH) before falling [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumble

Beach Ball Classic, Day 2: Socastee, MB, CA stumbleSocastee turned in a solid team effort but suffered an [more]

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant Henley

CCU mourns loss of former Olympian, assistant HenleyTwo-time Olympian (1992 and 1996) and Coastal Carolina assistant track [more]

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debuts

Beach Ball Classic, Day 1: Braves, Saints lose debutsTwo local high school basketball teams found out just how [more]

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region title

Wrestling: Young Panthers stay hungry for region titleMatthew Ashworth knows the Carolina Forest wrestling squad isn’t the [more]

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to Chadwell

Moglia steps down as CCU coach, pitches to ChadwellFive-time National Coach of the Year finalist Joe Moglia, who [more]

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over Panthers

Hoops: Sharks claim first region win over PanthersA big win for the St. James boys basketball team [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach