NASCAR’s Kerry Tharp Wins “Ken Patterson Helping Others Award”

2012 NMPA Convention Award Recognizes PR Professional

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 22, 2012) – Kerry Tharp, NASCAR senior director of competition communications, won the Ken Patterson Helping Others Award on Sunday night during the 2012 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) Convention at the Embassy Suites in Concord, N.C.

The prestigious award, named after the former director of public relations for Talladega Superspeedway, recognizes a public relations representative in the motorsports industry who has “exhibited the kind, generous qualities that Patterson always demonstrated.”

Affectionately – and appropriately – nicknamed the “Commander,” Tharp leads all competition communications efforts for the NASCAR Integrated Marketing Communications department. Tharp joined NASCAR in 2005 after a 20-year tenure as sports information director at the University of South Carolina.

“Kerry is a great communications professional, but more importantly he is a great human being and that is reflected in this award,” said Brett Jewkes, NASCAR vice president and chief communications officer. “He loves our sport and the people in our industry and it shows in everything he does. We’re very proud of Kerry and grateful to the NMPA for honoring him with this prestigious award.”

Sports has forever fueled Tharp’s passion – and career. For 26 years, Tharp worked in collegiate athletics, starting in the sports information department at his alma mater, Western Kentucky University before moving to graduate school at the University of Tennessee. Following UT, Tharp worked for the University of Oklahoma for four years before moving to South Carolina.

Tharp joined NASCAR as director for the sanctioning body’s licensing office in Charlotte in April of 2005. In February of 2006, he moved to his current role as head of competition communications, based out of NASCAR’s Research and Development Center in Concord, N.C. Tharp was promoted to his current title of senior director in October of 2010.
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