American Ethanol Fall 2017 - Page 4

A Family Business LIKE NONE OTHER Lesa France Kennedy on the heritage, growth and future of NASCAR by Emily Skor, Growth Energy CEO Writer’s note: I recently had the opportunity to visit with Lesa France Kennedy, vice chairman and chief executive officer of International Speedway Corporation (ISC). It was fascinating to gain the perspective of one of the most powerful women in sports, as we discussed her recollections of NASCAR® history, her constant drive to improve the fan experience, and her vision for the future. “Growing up in a family business was interesting, in many ways,” Kennedy stated. “As anyone who is involved in their own family business knows, you don’t leave work behind for Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas Eve. You’re all in, which is great.” W Kennedy, her uncle, Jim, and her brother, Brian, are all involved in NASCAR and ISC—Jim as ISC’s chairman of the board and Brian as NASCAR chairman and CEO. “While we all have very strong personalities, we focus on different areas,” Kennedy said. “Being able to rely on the strengths of the other family members when making decisions is very helpful. You know you always have someone in your court, and you’ve known their thought process for years.” ith NASCAR claiming its spot as one of the most popular sports in America, it may seem strange to call it a family business. But it is, and always has been, for Lesa France Kennedy, vice chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of International Speedway Corporation (ISC). As the granddaughter of NASCAR co-founder Bill France, Sr., Kennedy says the racing community has been the center of her life for as long as she can remember. 4 AMERICAN ETHANOL THE MAGAZINE