Going from bank vaults to racetracks sounds like a scene from a James Bond movie, but it’s just the latest turn of the course in Latasha Causey’s career. The former vice president and community development officer for Arizona-based Bell Bank was named track president at Phoenix Raceway in November 2022 – making her the first black female track president in NASCAR history, and only the second woman to hold such a position, replacing outgoing president Julie Giese. We chatted with Causey about her Valley roots, NASCAR’s November showcase and highlights from her first year on the job.
What are some of your favorite memories from growing up in Phoenix?
I love everything about being a Phoenix native, especially the variety of things that you get to do in Arizona. I grew up in the West Valley, but I just love going up north to Pinetop, Flagstaff, all those places. As I was growing up, my family, multiple times per year during the summer, we’d go up north and we’d go fishing. We still do that.
What have been some of the highlights of your first year as Phoenix Raceway president?
First and foremost, I have such a wonderful team here in Arizona. I got lucky, coming into a team that consisted of very experienced NASCAR individuals who like to have fun. I always pride myself in being like a walking party, so I like to think that we have a really good time here in Phoenix, and [I] just kind of stepped right into the team with that. I have been all over the place in my first year, getting to know NASCAR. I went to Daytona. I’ve been to multiple races over the summer. At Trackhouse in North Carolina, I watched the pit crews as they were preparing for the upcoming weekend. There’s nothing like what pit crews do to prepare for their job on the weekend. I’ve just had a fun first year, and it’s been a great learning experience.
What drew you to racing?
Julie [Giese] is the one who opened up my mind to the opportunity to take on this role as president of Phoenix Raceway, for multiple reasons. One, because of the direction that NASCAR is going regarding diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as where NASCAR is going regarding just broadening the fan base – meaning that we keep our existing loyal fans, but also open it up to others and that community aspect. They really wanted someone who knew this Arizona market and community. It really is a decision that I’m extremely grateful I made, and I have zero regrets about making it. It has been a really great opportunity.
Tell me about the NASCAR Cup Championship Series this November.
We’re very excited to host the 2023 championship. What we wanna do is make sure we continue to bring top-notch entertainment. We just announced that we’re going to have Diplo as our pre-race concert for Sunday, which is super exciting. Also, our campers come in the Monday before and most of them leave the Monday after, so we’re gonna continue our partnership with Walmart and have our grocery store out there in the campground area. We’re going to do a wide variety of community engagement activities. We’re gonna partner with the Larry Fitzgerald Foundation and do mobile mammograms. It will be Kevin Harvick’s last ride in Arizona, so we’ll make sure that we appreciate him. We haven’t announced everything that we’re going to be doing, but we’ll have a lot going on.