IndyCar Series names Jay Frye president of competition
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) IndyCar named Jay Frye president of competition and operations on Thursday, bringing in a NASCAR veteran and revenue expert to succeed Derrick Walker after a season filled with safety concerns.
Frye had served as chief revenue officer for Hulman Motorsports after decades of experience leading successful NASCAR racing teams and securing sponsorships. Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., parent of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, announced the decision Thursday.
''Jay Frye's resume is perfectly aligned with our organization's strategic vision,'' Miles said. ''He has both series and team experience, having successfully transformed and led Red Bull Racing and MB2 Motorsports before joining Hulman Motorsports.''
Frye's NASCAR teams won four races and he led Red Bull to a spot in the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Frye, who will report to Miles, took over as revenue officer in 2013 and helped land Verizon as IndyCar's title sponsor.
''He understands our technical and competition issues and he will develop solutions that work for fans, teams and the series,'' team owner Roger Penske said.
Walker quit at the end of the season, and Miles said Walker believed he'd lost the support of many key players in the paddock during a season that featured great racing but was overshadowed by problems and tragedy.
Graham Rahal, who contended all season for the championship, supported the decision.
''Congrats to the man (at)JayRFrye on his new position (at)IndyCar. He's the man, great guy and a man of his word. The right guy for the job!'' he tweeted.
Frye, an Illinois native raised a huge fan of open-wheel racing, said he wanted to improve race control.
''One of the things we really want to try and do as a league is minimize the debate,'' he said. ''We're also going to create a consistent platform where the infractions have a clear and concise consequence.''
Walker felt responsible for issues that plagued the introduction of aero kits this year, Miles said, and the opening race included a fan being struck in the head by a piece of debris from the track. A series of reinforcements were made to the brittle bodykits, but there was still an 11th-hour change in qualifying rules for the Indianapolis 500 after three cars went airborne during practices. James Hinchcliffe also suffered a life-threatening injury when a broken part from his crashed race car pierced one of his legs.
In August, motorsports was rocked by the death of IndyCar veteran Justin Wilson, who died a day after he was struck in the helmet by a piece of debris at Pocono.
IndyCar has yet to determine how much relief it will grant Honda for racing at an aerodynamic disadvantage against Chevrolet last season. IndyCar completed a final wave of wind tunnel testing last weekend and should have a decision soon for the manufacturers. Miles said Honda suffered a disadvantage at all tracks except superspeedways.
''We think the work done in the tunnel last weekend was quality, clear, helpful and will enable us to make some decisions very quickly,'' Miles said.
Rod Davis, who has worked with the Indiana Sports Corp., USA Gymnastics, RCA Championships and USA Swimming, takes over for Frye as IndyCar's revenue officer.
''I think we have a great story to share,'' Davis said. ''I'm looking forward to sharing that and trying to stay aggressive as we go out and attract more brands and more commercial partners to the sport.''