Cole brings over 20 years of sports marketing experience to the IHRA, with the past 17 years almost exclusively in motorsports with NHRA, NASCAR and IndyCar. Cole resides in southern California and will be handling corporate partnerships under the guidance of IHRA President Scott Gardner and IRG Sports + Entertainment CEO Jason Rittenberry.
“I am really looking forward to Steve joining our team. Having worked directly with him in the past through several different racing ventures and projects, I am confident that he is going to make an immediate and far-reaching impact on our company,” said Jason Rittenberry, President and Chief Executive Officer of IRG Sports + Entertainment.
Prior to joining IHRA, Cole worked for John Force Racing as the Director of Strategic Partnerships and Licensing. Prior to that, Cole provided consulting through his own company, ColeTrain Marketing, specializing in creative marketing, product licensing, promotions and new business development within the motorsports and sports and entertainment industries. Cole was also VP of Marketing for Victory Management Group and was named as the first Vice Chairman of Doug Herbert’s BRAKES Foundation to promote safe teen driving.
Cole has also served as Senior Vice President of Marketing, Advertising and PR for Action Performance Companies Inc., the leader in motorsports marketing and merchandising. In addition, he has prior experience working in professional sports marketing agencies and player management groups within NFL, NHL and minor league baseball while living in Buffalo, N.Y.
Cole has a BS degree in Marketing from Niagara University. He is married to wife Leslie with two children, Tyler and Olivia.
“I am really excited to have this opportunity to work with IHRA Motorsports and the entire IRG team. As a fan of drag racing, I really like where the IHRA is taking the sport and I know that the future is bright,” Cole said. “I have been fortunate throughout my career to work with some of the best people in the motorsports industry and I look forward to bringing that experience to the IHRA. Together I think we can make a positive impact on the sport for all of the great racers, fans, tracks and sponsors of the IHRA.”
Cole will primarily work out of his southern California office and the IHRA Headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio, in addition to attending national touring series events. He will be responsible for all sales and sponsorship revenues, official partnerships and licensing for the IHRA, including its national touring series, the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series™ and Sonic Rush Tour™.
“We are thrilled to welcome Steven Cole to the IHRA Motorsports family. Steven has an extensive and very successful background in motorsports, working with some of the biggest names in the sport, and we look forward to Steven bringing that expertise and passion to the IHRA,” said Scott Gardner, President of IHRA Motorsports. “With Steven’s experience and IHRA’s momentum, we look forward to our continued growth and expansion of the IHRA brand around the world.”