Helton served as NASCAR president from 2000 through 2017 and has been with the sanctioning body in various roles since joining it in 1994 as vice president of competition. In February 1999, Helton assumed the role of senior vice president and chief operating officer, becoming the first person outside the France family to take over the day-to-day operations of NASCAR. As the third president in the sport’s history, Helton cemented NASCAR’s presence in major markets within the United States, as well as Mexico, Canada and Europe.
His impressive rise through NASCAR’s ranks has given him a reputation: Mike Helton is the man in every meeting. He’s at every birthday party and social event, every ribbon-cutting and street naming. His dedication to the people and sport is unwavering. He is tough when he needs to be, and nurturing when the situation calls for it. Through the sport’s highs and lows, he’s been a steady presence in the room.
Helton’s decades of dedicated service to the industry – at NASCAR and as track operator at Atlanta and Talladega speedways – wins respect. His wealth of knowledge and experience has become key in mentoring drivers and upcoming executives in the company. Dale Earnhardt, Jr. cites Helton as a touchstone for decisions in his career. “I knew wanting to make him proud was healthy because it would lead me to make the proper choice.” Earnhardt said. He wanted Helton to appreciate him and know he was an asset to the sport.
Helton is credited with spearheading NASCAR’s safety push in the early 2000s, which led to the formation of the NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina. Dedicated to strengthening NASCAR’s safety and competition initiatives, it is the first R&D center owned and operated by a sanctioning body of a major motorsports series.
In addition to his role as a member of NASCAR’s Board of Directors, Helton maintains a similar role with The NASCAR Foundation, NASCAR’s charitable arm that seeks to raise funds and increase volunteerism to support nonprofit charities and charitable causes throughout the nation.
Helton now serves as a member of NASCAR’s Board of Directors and is also a member of the company’s Executive Council. Helton and his wife, Lynda, reside in Daytona Beach, Florida.