Jill Gregory Takes Lessons From Nascar, Uses Them For Sonoma Raceway

Jill Gregory, the executive vice president and general manager of Sonoma Raceway, has a message for race fans entering the first full capacity Toyota/Save Mart 350 weekend since 2019.

“We’re open for business and ready to welcome you,” Gregory said.

Gregory, Nascar’s former executive vice president and chief marketing and content officer, took the helm at Sonoma Raceway on Feb. 1, 2021. The task of bringing the track back from a year off due to the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with a plethora of competition from multiple other road courses added to the Nascar Cup Series schedule, didn’t make the new role easy .

But Gregory, who grew up 90 miles away from her new job site in Modesto, California, wanted to utilize her wide set of skills to make this facility stand out.

“I think that the experience I had at Nascar and the ability to be involved in a lot of discussions and decisions on the growth of the sport, marketing and digital, communications and social media was a huge help,” she said.

“I understand what the fans want, and spending so much time talking to the fans and doing fan research, getting to the bottom of what makes someone want to come and enjoy a Nascar event, have helped inform me with the decisions I’ve made out here.

Understanding Nascar fans and fans of live events is Gregory’s motto. She wants to make Sonoma the go-to destination each year moving forward.

In 2019 and 2020, Gregory became one of Nascar’s leading faces. Adweek named her one of “The Most Powerful Women in Sports.”

At Nascar, in addition to marketing and digital, communications and social media, she overlooks a wide variety of tasks, including broadcasting, as well as diversity and inclusion functions within the sanctioning body itself. She also managed Nascar.com, the official Nascar mobile app and its fantasy games.

“Understanding some of the strategic objectives of the sport and what we’re trying to do to bring new fans to it while taking care of our existing fans has given me a good foundation on how to make that come to life,” Gregory said. “The fan experience exists at the track. It’s where you get to see, smell and taste Nascar. We are the touch point of the fans. My Nascar background has helped me put what the fans want at the forefront.”

As Gregory and her staff prepare to open the gates to Sonoma Raceway this weekend, she’s excited to showcase to fans the changes the track has undergone.

Gregory said, “As we welcome fans, media, clients and sponsors back here, they will see something new and different in Sonoma. They will see a reimagined experience. It’s the Sonoma everyone loves, and I hope you’ll see upgrades and new components.”

In addition to the Cup Series race on Sunday, Sonoma Raceway will welcome the Nascar Camping World Truck Series for the first time since 1998, when Boris Said went to victory lane.

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