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Texas Motor Speedway Has A New Boss

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 12 2022

Texas Motor Speedway has hired another GM. (File photo courtesy of INDYCAR)

Speedway Motorsports has reached outside the company bubble to hire only the third general manager in the 26-year history of Texas Motor Speedway.

Veteran AEG executive Mark Faber will join TMS in Fort Worth later this month after serving as Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Faber replaces current GM Rob Ramage, who has been promoted to Speedway Motorsports Senior Vice President of Government Relations and Deputy Counsel.

Ramage was introduced on Aug. 4, 2021 as successor to Eddie Gossage, who retired as President and GM of “The Great American Speedway” after the facility played host to its first NASCAR All-Star Race weekend in June 2021. That event capped Gossage’s 25-year tenure at TMS and three-plus decades with Speedway Motorsports _ the Concord, N.C.-based company founded by O. Bruton Smith. A NASCAR Hall of Famer, Smith died on June 22, 2022 at age 95.

Ramage since has overseen the promotion and operation of three major event weekends at TMS _ two sanctioned by NASCAR and one by INDYCAR _ marked by lagging attendance in a competitive market dominated by the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys. Rumors about Ramage’s job status began to circulate shortly before TMS played host to its second NASCAR All-Star Race weekend in May. 

Both personnel announcements were made public by Speedway Motorsports President and CEO Marcus Smith, Bruton Smith’s son, in a news release citing a TMS “team luncheon” datelined in Concord. While Ramage’s promotion takes place immediately he will continue to serve as general manager at TMS until Faber assumes the position as executive vice president and general manager on Aug. 22.

“Mark brings more than 30 years of experience in the sports and entertainment industries to Speedway Motorsports,” Marcus Smith said in the release. “Texas Motor Speedway has been hosting major races, concerts and special events for more than 25 years. With Mark’s expertise in corporate sales, fan engagement and event management at premier facilities, we are well-positioned for ‘The Great American Speedway’ to move into its next quarter-century.”

Faber joins Speedway Motorsports after spending the last 17 years with AEG, one of the world’s leading sports and live entertainment companies. As Senior Vice President of Global Partnerships for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas since 2014, Faber led a team responsible for securing high-revenue, long-term partners for naming rights, founding partners and premium inventory including suites, loge boxes and club seating.

Under Faber’s leadership, T-Mobile signed its first naming rights agreement with the state-of-the-art arena which hosts more than 100 events annually and is home to the UFC and the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights. Faber was actively involved in the design phase of the arena as well as public relations, civic and charity initiatives.

Preceding his move to Las Vegas, Faber served as AEG’s Senior Vice President of Business Operations and Midwest Partnerships at the T-Mobile Center (formerly Sprint Center) in Kansas City, Mo., from 2005 to 2013. During that time Faber consulted on sponsorships and premium seating renovations for Daytona International Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. Before AEG, he worked as a Regional Vice President for Learfield Sports in Dallas and also held senior level positions with Host Communications, Galles Indy Racing and PSP Sports.

Faber’s career in the sports industry also includes positions with the Orange Bowl and a six-year period with the Cowboys, where he began as sales and syndication coordinator for Dallas Cowboys Television Productions and was promoted to Vice President of Dallas Cowboys Training Camp Sales and Marketing.

During Faber’s time with “America’s Team,” the Cowboys won back-to-back world championships. Faber also was a member of the postseason advance teams for NFC Championship Games and Super Bowls.

“We welcome Mark back to Texas and to the Speedway Motorsports family,” Smith said. “We look forward to his leadership as our team works together toward the Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Playoff race at TMS in September.”

Ramage has worked for Speedway Motorsports since 2013, serving first as General Counsel & Director of Governmental Affairs and Senior Vice President of Finance & Compliance under Gossage at TMS.

Ramage’s duties spanned a variety of capacities, including risk management and working with government entities, business leaders and community advocates. Since replacing Gossage, Ramage led the TMS staff in hosting last October’s Autotrader EchoPark Automotive 500 NASCAR Cup Series Playoff race, the XPEL 375 NTT IndyCar Series race weekend in March and the 2022 NASCAR All-Star Race in May.

Before joining Speedway Motorsports, Ramage practiced law in Dallas, focusing on complex litigation, intellectual property and business transactions.

“Rob’s accomplishments in government relations and the legal fields have been invaluable to our company as we continue growing our investments in the great state of Texas,” Smith said. “Now with a year of experience as a speedway general manager, Rob understands even more about building the community and fan relationships necessary for our success.

“In his new role, Rob will not only invest his energy and enthusiasm in what we are doing in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin markets, but also lend his government-relations expertise and legal support to our sports entertainment executives and venues nationwide.”

Ramage emerged last summer as winner of a nationwide executive search that drew 30 applicants and went through several rounds of interviews. Smith cited Ramage for his efforts in building awareness for TMS with government officials and community leaders as well as building relationships throughout the state and local communities.

“What we do isn’t just selling tickets and Cokes and hot dogs,” Smith said. “It’s really even more important than that _ we’re filling in the time of the ordinary of life. Our job is to provide people with fantastic memories that they can talk about for an entire life with friends and family.”

However, Ramage could not duplicate the promotional successes of Gossage, widely acknowledged as the “P.T. Barnum of Motorsports” and a popular personality among media in the Dallas-Fort Worth market. That challenge will soon be handed to Faber.

Since opening in 1997, Texas Motor Speedway has generated an annual economic impact of approximately $300-million into the North Texas region. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic that impacted every facet of daily life in 2020, TMS played host to over 700 different types of events each year.

 Editor’s Note: John Sturbin is a Texas-based journalist specializing in motorsports. During a near 30-year career with the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, he won the Bloys Britt Award for top motorsports story of the year (1991) as judged by The Associated Press; received the National Hot Rod Association’s Media Award (1995) and several in-house Star-Telegram honors. He also was inaugural recipient of the Texas Motor Speedway Excellence in Journalism Award (2009). His list of freelance clients includes Texas Motor Speedway, the Dallas Morning News, New York Newsday, Rome (N.Y.) Daily Sentinel, Corpus Christi (Texas) Caller Times, NASCAR Wire Service, Ford Racing and Used Car Dealer magazine).


| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Friday, August 12 2022
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