The Lady In Black Will Always Have A Special Place In Chip Wile’s Heartby Hunter Thomas April 26, 2016
DARLINGTON, S.C. – At only 33 years old, Chip Wile became Darlington Raceway’s youngest track president, and later this year, he will say goodbye to the Lady In Black.
On Monday, the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) announced that the Georgia native would be relocated to Florida to serve as the tack president for Daytona International Speedway. The promotion is an opportunity that Wile has been working towards for over 15 years. Starting from the bottom in the NASCAR industry and working his way up, Wile earned the biggest break of his career and arrived at the track, Too Tough To Tame in August of 2013.
“When I first got to Darlington, I really wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but I knew immediately how special the group of people were who worked there,” Wile said. “That’s one thing that I knew right off the bat. There are so many folks at the racetrack that have been there a long time and know exactly what they’re doing, and they just needed somebody to be their cheerleader.”
While in Darlington, Chip Wile has focused on bringing his team members together and strengthening their collaboration. Over the past few years, Wile says that everyone at the track has become a big family and have accomplished some incredible things together. Just last year, Darlington Raceway won the National Motorsports Press Association’s 2015 Myers Brothers Award. The prestigious honor was awarded to the staff for their efforts in successfully implementing their Bojangles’ Southern 500 throwback campaign. Wile says that his best memories while serving as the president of Darlington Raceway were seeing what his fellow staff members were able to accomplish behind the scenes.
“We’ve come a long way,” Wile said. “Just as a group, we’ve become family, and I think that’s what I’m most proud of is watching them excel and become closer as a unit and together and really making our common goal happen.”
Wile’s leadership at the historic track has resulted in nearly 15 annual events and a much stronger relationship with the community. Darlington Raceway now offers fans so much more than one NASCAR weekend a year. Fans can participate in car shows, BBQ competitions, a half marathon and much more. There are even movie nights for kids and concerts that bring in high profile artists. Wile was also a recognizable face in the community. He was a co-host on WEGX-FM Eagle 92.9’s weekly race show, That’s Racing, and he was also a regular guest on WWFN-FM 100.1 and CBS affiliate, WBTW News 13.
“One thing that I recognized early on in this job is that we’ve got on obligation to our community,” Wile said. “To open up the racetrack and to do things out there that really benefited them, and that has certainly been something that we’ve all seen a lot of positive things out of and certainly something that we’re really proud of. When I got there, we didn’t have a whole lot on the calendar, and now it seems like we’ve got something every week or two.”
Darlington will always have a special place in Wile’s heart, but life is about changing, and he’s ready for the challenge to lead the world’s first motorsports stadium. At Daytona International Speedway, Wile will lead a team that hosts the Daytona 500, NASCAR’s biggest race of the season, as well as the Rolex 24, which is IMSA’s biggest event. Wile’s first major event will be the Country 500, a three-day country music festival on Memorial Day weekend, followed by the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola in July.
“The great thing is that I’m leaving one incredible team and going to another,” While said. “Daytona International Speedway has an incredible group of men and women that have transformed it into the first motorsports stadium, and those folks are just as passionate about Daytona as our group here in Darlington is about Darlington. It’s an honor to be a part of that team and get down there and get going.”