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Frank Kelleher leans on family values as new president at Daytona International Speedway

Edgar Thompson, Orlando Sentinel on

Published in Auto Racing

Frank Kelleher has been involved in family business since he was a kid.

Back then, he learned the ropes and hung on every word of his father and two uncles at Kelleher Tire back home in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Along the way, Kelleher developed a passion for cars and a personal code well suited to serve the France family, the founders and owners of NASCAR.

Kelleher spent nearly 19 years operating in the sport’s corporate side before recently segueing to the role of track president Daytona International Speedway, along with Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

The 41-year-old brings to his new assignment the same all-hands-on-deck, jack-of-all-trades attitude he developed at Kelleher Tire.

“I was a young 6-, 7-, 8-years old in a very adult situation of being in a family business, blue-collar, living day to day, week to week,” Kelleher recalled this week. “Was around a lot of adult and business conversations from the time that I was little.”

Founded in 1927 by his grandfather Jerry, the tire shop survived the Great Depression and now has been in the same location since 1947 at 430 W. Market Street in Scranton.

 

Kelleher Tire’s staying power furnished lessons across generations that Kelleher, the ninth president in DIS’s 62-year history, has embraced during his rise up NASCAR management ranks.

“If you’re going to put your name on it, treat it with pride, and when you’re dealing with people treat them the way you want to be treated,” Kelleher said. “I think it’s those fundamentals that have helped me throughout my career.”

The most instructive, enduring fundamental has been the value of hard work.

Kelleher would go from school to the shop, where he cleaned bathrooms, swept bays and eventually learned to change tires and oil, drive the tow truck and even plow snow during Scranton’s long, bitter winters.

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