As the top exec at NASCAR, Brian France has to worry about a lot more than cars whizzing around a track. He works with huge brands that sponsor cars, drivers, and the sport itself, as well as giant tech companies that provide services for NASCAR.
For the second year in a row, France has fielded an expert team for the Fortune Fantasy Sports Executive League. Reader team-creation closes Aug. 9; scoring depends, in part, on how closely the player’s picks match those of experts like France. He spoke with Fortune’s Daniel Roberts about his choices.
Brian France: My logic depended on having a lot of familiarity with a number of the candidates, so if I knew them and have worked closely with them — and if they fit — I tended to go with them. We work with more Fortune 500 companies than anybody else, so I tend to stay close to a lot of those guys.
The CEO is our friend from IBM (IBM), Ginni Rometty. We’re getting into the technology space, so we’ve been out and about working with them, we just signed a deal with HP (hpq) so we’re in the space, and we like the dynamic of all the big technology companies right now.
COO is Steve Burke from NBC Universal (CMCSA). We just negotiated with him and got to know him rather recently in a large deal for us, and I found him to be a great operator.
For utility player we have Alan Mulally from Ford (F). We work with all the carmakers. I’ve dealt with him directly quite a bit, and obviously his general turnaround and his experience in multiple industries gives him the edge. He’s turned aerospace around and now car manufacturing, so he’s great.
The CFO is Dan Amman of GM (gm). Nobody has to have tighter controls financially than those car guys, with margins so small. I have not met Dan before, but GM is well-managed right now.
To stick with the big brands, we have AG Lafley from P&G (pg) as non-executive chairman. There are a lot of their brands in our sport, for sure. He was already a non-executive chairman; now he’s been brought back.
I like Joe Tripodi from Coke (KO) for CMO. We work very closely with their marketing group, and I can tell you that of everyone we work with, nobody has the marketing sense those guys do. They’re just the best, day in and day out. They’re the official soft drink of NASCAR, and they’re involved with a number of our tracks and teams.
For CIO, another company we work very closely with in our ecosystem that is tangentially connected to a lot of consumer products is Wal-Mart (wmt), so, Karenann Terrell. Obviously, Wal-Mart has a very big footprint, but they’ve partnered with us on one of the largest retail programs out there, Race Time, and the program has doubled in size. Nobody has more logistics that involve the CIO than Wal-Mart.
My pick for designer is Eric Quint from 3M (mmm). They are a big, big innovation partner of ours, and they’ve helped us with a whole host of things. I’ve interacted with the CEO and on down the line, so I have real familiarity with them. One thing they work with us on is team sponsorship, but they also help us innovate in NASCAR in different pieces, with the automotive aftermarket. They help us make the racing better and safer. 3M has a product that is a handheld, fire-suppressant product, they use it in the rooms where they keep their big servers, and now it’s in the 3M race car driven by Greg Biffle. The driver can grab it and put out a fire. They’re beta-testing it now to eventually put it in all cars.
Entrepreneur in residence has to be Kevin Plank from Under Armour (ua). They don’t have any official involvement in NASCAR, but we just know him and have been so impressed with everything the company has done. I follow the company and considering they’re competing against Nike (nke) and Adidas, it’s amazing.