Former Dale Earnhardt Inc. president Max Siegel will conduct the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program through his new sports and entertainment marketing agency, The 909 Group, NASCAR announced Wednesday.
The Drive for Diversity programme had been outsourced to Access Marketing & Communications for its initial five years, and NASCAR has now contracted it out to Siegel, who sees his new opportunity as one where he can have a broad impact on the sport.
"DEI was a tremendous opportunity and it was an incredible challenge and a great experience," Siegel said in a phone interview Wednesday. "I had the opportunity to experience things in my tenure there that a lot of people probably don't get to (despite having) more time in the sport.
"This gives me another look at the sport and wanting to see what I want to do more long term. I know I want to have a long future in NASCAR. This is an exciting opportunity to stretch across teams, talent, the sanctioning body and the commercial partners."
Siegel's departure ended a two-year stint at DEI. He joined the team when it was in the final stages of trying to keep Dale Earnhardt Jr. with the team. Earnhardt Jr. opted to leave for Hendrick Motorsports.
Siegel oversaw the buyout of Ginn Racing and the merger of the engine shop with Richard Childress Racing as well.
While DEI had improved engine reliability and expanded to four teams for 2008 thanks to those transactions, the organisation's top cars finished 14th and 16th in the owners points and didn't win a race. None of its drivers made the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup.
DEI and Chip Ganassi Racing announced a partnership last November, forming Earnhardt Ganassi Racing. The team is working out of the Ganassi shop and is expected to be run by mostly Ganassi personnel.
"Just from economic necessity and really trying to find a principal partner that was a good fit for DEI to go into tough economic times, I reached out to Chip," Siegel said.
"Chip is a hands-on owner. He's something that DEI hasn't had and needs from the principal (owner) standpoint. I'm going to continue to work with them on some of the marketing initiatives and revenue-generating initiatives as a client. But this will allow me to get another perspective in NASCAR and more experience."