Darlington Raceway president promoted to lead Daytona

Chip Wile excited for new venture

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - The president of Darlington Raceway, Chip Wile, has been promoted to be president of Daytona International Speedway, according to a release from the International Speedway Corporation (ISC).

Wile, who has been at Darlington since 2013, takes over at Daytona as its current president, Joie Chitwood III is promoted to chief operating officer of the ISC.

The press release stated:

Wile, promoter of one of NASCAR's most successful events of the 2015 season - the Bojangles' Southern 500 - will transition from leadership of Darlington Raceway to president of Daytona International Speedway.  In just two years as president of Darlington Raceway, Wile transformed the facility's identity and impact on and off the track. He spearheaded a five-year strategy to reinvent Darlington Raceway with an inaugural Throwback Campaign during NASCAR's return to Darlington on Labor Day weekend, in addition to re-engaging the local community hosting nearly 15 annual events. In his new role, Wile will oversee promotion and operation of the new motor sports stadium beginning with its first major event, the Country 500 over Memorial Day weekend, followed by the Coke Zero 400 Powered By Coca-Cola.

 "Chip personifies the ideal track president being someone who values relationship building as the catalyst for collaboration and promotion," stated ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy. "He not only operates with a fan-first mentality, but is deeply community-focused and a real team player, all of which will serve him well in this new role." 

The leader of the too-tough-to-tame track is taking his skills to the Super Bowl of NASCAR. It's a big step for the man who's built up and restored the historic reputation of Darlington Raceway.

After just three years as the president of Darlington Raceway, Wile has continually become a bigger name in the NASCAR circuit. After bringing Darlington Raceway to national prominence, he is taking his a career a big step forward.

"We all genuinely care for one another and, you know, this is a tough day for Catherine and I and our family," Wile said during a press conference after the announcement was made Monday afternoon. "But at the end of the day, these folks here are the reason Darlington Raceway has been successful ... and I've just been fortunate to lead the team and I think we have a great path for this racetrack and a very well thought out plan." .

Daytona International Speedway just completed a $450 million renovation to add seats and improve the speedway. Daytona is also the host of two Sprint Cup races each season.

Craig Dalla Riva, regional vice president for Cumulus Media, said Wile was a guest host every week for his radio stations WWFN 100.1 "The Fan" in Florence, and the top-rated 100.3 "The Team" in Myrtle Beach.

Dalla Riva said he wasn't surprised in the least with the announcement, but admitted to some disappointment because he won't get to work closely with Wile or see him as often.

"What he did with the (Labor Day) race last year was nationally recognized and it really made me proud to work closely with someone like that," Dalla Riva said. "Here is a guy that, obviously, has taken it to a whole other level for this track in particular, but in this industry."

Wile will be splitting his time between Daytona and Darlington over the next few months to help in the selection of the new president at Darlington Raceway, as well as preparing for the Labor Day weekend race.

"We are committed to continuing to help build Darlington Raceway and the Bojangels Southern 500 into a tentpole race on the schedule," said Wile.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.