NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell explains why he left twitter

The NASCAR executive used to regularly engage with fans on the platform

This week, there’s been a shift in NASCAR management.

Steve O’Donnell has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer to oversee track operations and strategic development. He previously held the role of executive vice president and Chief Racing Development Officer.

Ben Kennedy has been moved to the role of senior vice president of racing development and strategy. He was previously the VP of strategy and innovation at NASCAR.

“Going into the strategy and innovation side, there’s been a great opportunity to learn so many different facets of the business and areas that are quite frankly outside of my comfort zone,” Ben Kennedy said. “But I think competition … it feels like it’s part of my DNA. … I’m excited to dive back into it. I have a lot of passion for this area.”

Steve O’Donnell talks twitter

Mike Helton, ARCA President Ron Drager, John Menard and Steve O'Donnell
DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 09: NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton, ARCA President Ron Drager, and John Menard pose for a photo prior to practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 9, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Steve O’Donnell was previously very active on twitter. He would regularly engage with the fans whether that means answering questions or responding to outgoes comments with some shade of his own.

A few months ago, his account was deleted.

With someone that high up to engage with fans, in a digital landscape no less, creates a target. Yet, that’s not why he left twitter…

“I wouldn’t say folks chased me off twitter,” Steve O’Donnell stated Thursday.

“I’m a big boy and I can deal with criticism. I think it just became a little bit of a waste of my time.”

He added, “I went on there to interact with fans. It became a place were that was no longer an ability. It became a bit of a mess for me.”

“I felt like there were other avenues I could do that.”

Advice for Ben Kennedy

Ben Kennedy - LA Coliseum - NASCAR Cup Series
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – FEBRUARY 04: NASCAR Senior Vice President of Strategy and Innovation Ben Kennedy speaks with the media prior to the upcoming NASCAR Cup Series Busch Light Clash at Los Angeles Coliseum on February 04, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

O’Donnell added, “Our sport’s continuing to evolve. We used to have a sport where our president was in race control. That’s different than other sports. You know, Roger Goodell’s, not calling, you know, holding. There’s some distance there.”

“I think that’s where we want to evolve to, as well. For the first six months, he may be sitting there to say, ‘Hey, do I have the right people here? Do I feel like this is a good team? Great! Lets go to work.’ It’s more of that.”

“It wont be the direct criticism, in terms of calls. But, it comes with the territory. Ben’s a big boy. He’s grown up in the sport, he’s raced. I’ve been hear 25+ years, he’s got more experience than I do because he was born into it and he’s seen the sport go up and down.”

“My advice to him to him is, ‘Don’t get to high and don’t get too low.’ They’ll be tough moments. The best advice I ever got was, ‘When you’re in a really tough spot, picture yourself going underwater. Say whatever you’re going to do then resurface and try to have the conversation.’ “

“I have full confidence. I’ve seen been work. Great style, he takes criticism even better than I do.”