Mike Helton assumed the role of president for NASCAR in November 2000, succeeding Bill France, who had served as president since 1972. He became the first person outside the France family to take over the day-to-day operations of NASCAR when he was promoted from his position as vice president for competition and was named senior vice president and chief operating officer in February of 1999.
Born and raised in Bristol, Virginia, Helton’s motorsports experience allows him to look at all sides of the picture, from a sanctioning body’s standpoint, from a track’s standpoint (from his years running one), and even from a competitor’s standpoint…he did a little racing of his own at one time. His motorsports management experience began in 1980 at what was then known as Atlanta International Raceway. He was promoted to general manager in 1985 before joining the management team at Daytona International Speedway in 1986. Eighteen months later, Helton was offered the job of general manager at Talladega Superspeedway. Within two years, he quickly advanced to vice president of the International Speedway Corporation and in 1989 was promoted to president of the Talladega track. He held that position until January of 1994, when he relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida as the new vice president for competition – all by the age of 40.