Drivers. Spotters. Crew chiefs. Pit Crew members. These are all jobs that come to mind when one speaks about NASCAR. Certainly, these folks are on the front lines. This Beyond the Track series will introduce you to a handful of the countless people that play a unique role in bringing NASCAR to the track and TV week in and week out.
Meet LeeAnn Egolf, Driver Manager for Corey LaJoie
As a toddler, LeeAnn Egolf would attend the Indianapolis 500 with her family each year. And, admittedly, she comes from a “car family.” Her father collected vintage Corvettes and her brother refurbished Ford Mustangs. And now? Laughing, she conceded, “NASCAR is like a way of life.”
Her unique start in the industry came as she worked for a sponsor in IndyCar prior to her transition to doing marketing and licensing for a NASCAR team, where she met Corey LaJoie and eventually began working for him directly.
When asked to clarify her title, Egolf paused and said, “That’s a good question! I don’t think we’ve ever figured that out!”
Consequently, Driver Manager is the title she and LaJoie, driver of the No. 32 Go Fas Racing Ford Mustang, decided upon.
A few of her many roles include scheduling media, track, and sponsor obligations directly for LaJoie. She also manages his website, including merchandise and shipping. Additionally, she handles some of LaJoie’s social media channels as it relates to sponsor deliverables. She also orchestrates his sponsors’ hospitality at the track.
“Basically I take care of anything outside of the actual race car for Corey so he can focus on racing,” Egolf shared.
Ultimately, as LaJoie’s Manager, she wears numerous hats. One might see her at the track holding a Sharpie with a stack of hero cards and consider her a glorified babysitter. However, she stated she does the job that four or five people would at a much larger race team, and that’s perfectly fine with her.
The Good and The Bad
While working within NASCAR comes with many perks, Egolf shared that it’s a “whole work/life balance.”
When I asked about the best part of her job, she said without a doubt it would be interacting with the fans and sponsors, and seeing their excitement upon the opportunity to meet LaJoie, and experience a race from the team’s perspective.
But above that, she confessed that it’s “an awesome way to facilitate happiness.” She shared that LaJoie is heavily involved with the NASCAR Foundation and Samaritan’s Feet, his charity of choice. In turn, she gets to see children light up through these interactions because of his generosity.
The most difficult aspect is “keeping travel manageable.” Her family lives near Atlanta, Georgia, decidedly outside the hub of NASCAR. Because of this, she needs to catch commercial flights to the track versus “hopping on the team jet.” Flying on her own tends to keep her away from home usually a day or so longer. Therefore, she aims to attend 20-25 races a season until she can relocate to the Charlotte area once her two teenage boys graduate from high school.
This plan allows her to still spend quality time with her husband and kids, attending their school and sporting events in between managing LaJoie’s schedule. “I’m just thankful for Go Fas Racing and Corey allowing me some flexibility with my schedule,” she expressed.
I asked Egolf about aspects of her job that might surprise people. She confided that she is sometimes actually busier at home than at the track, where she “keeps the Sharpies handy.” In fact, her Instagram bio says, “Sharpie holder for Corey Lajoie.” But don’t let her bio fool you, she really does so much more.
During the week, she is working on appearances, media schedules, sponsor obligations, track requests, collaboration with manufacturers designing assets such as LaJoie’s firesuits and fulfilling his website merchandise orders. She said fans would be surprised at the effort to create LaJoie’s working schedule that allows time for all of these requests – all before a driver even climbs into the car.
In addition, she shared how the “racing family” becomes an extension of your real family. And not just the Go Fas Racing team, but the teams surrounding them every week, the sponsors, officials, fellow PR reps, the team chef, hauler drivers, and more. “I’d like to think they have my back and know they can count on me at the track and off,” she said. “They’re all like brothers & sisters.”
With this extended time away from the track, I asked Egolf how her responsibilities would change, and she shared the old adage, “When it rains, it pours.”
She admitted at first, she was looking for busy work and did some office organizing, along with canceling scheduled flights and obligations for LaJoie. But she is currently looking ahead and organizing the Track Walk with Samaritan’s Feet for Pocono Raceway with The NASCAR Foundation. In addition, she is reworking LaJoie’s website and merchandise.
She admitted, “It’s stuff I don’t have a lot of time for during the season…I’m trying to look at this as a blessing to slow down and reset the clock.”
But she is fully aware that once the new schedule is released by NASCAR, it will be full steam ahead.
I asked Egolf for some final words to share with fans about her role, behind-the-scenes, in NASCAR. Egolf has worked with LaJoie for four years now.
She replied, “There’s no career that I’d rather have than working in NASCAR with Corey LaJoie, his partners, and his family. NASCAR is a sport that pays respect to our country with the National Anthem, conducts an invocation pre-race, and provides an environment with connections to the fans like no other sport. I just can’t imagine being anywhere else at this point in my life, and Go Fas Racing has been a big factor in this. I’ve really enjoyed being part of their small, family-owned team more than anywhere we’ve been so far. I think the MotorTrend show, ‘NASCAR All In, The Battle for Daytona‘ really shows the fans what it’s like working on a small team. It’s something special I don’t think the fans get to witness on the race-day broadcast and really need to see.”
A huge thank you again to LeeAnn Egolf for taking the time, in the midst of a very busy and uncertain time during the NASCAR season, to answer a few questions. I hope you enjoyed going behind-the-scenes with a Driver Manager. Additionally, I hope you look forward to the next installment of Beyond The Track.