Bob Lutz - CEO of Driving 101 NASCAR Racing Experience



Robert J. Lutz grew up in Syracuse, N.Y., working for his family-owned business. His marketing and management career started at a young age, assisting in the development and maintenance of D.I.R.T Motorsports.

With a well-rounded business background, Lutz moved to Charlotte, N.C., in May 1990 to further entrench him in the national racing community. In July 1991, Lutz accepted the job as marketing director for Fast Track High Performance Driving School in Harrisburg, N.C. He served in that role for two years and transformed Fast Track into the leading Winston Cup driving school in the United States.

Lutz left Fast Track to follow his creative vision and created the Richard Petty Driving Experience and showcased his marketing talents as President and Chief Executive Officer. He nurtured and developed the company with innovative ideas that led it to become the leading stock car driving experience in the United States. After opening locations in Charlotte, Atlanta, and Las Vegas, Lutz concluded two years of negotiations to bring the Richard Petty Driving Experience to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. When it opened in February 1997, it marked the first time a third-party organization was allowed to own and operate an attraction at Walt Disney World.

In October 1997, Lutz sold his share of the company to explore other opportunities in the motor sports industry. It was that thought that led to the creation of Driving 101, LLC in October of 1998. Lutz once again figured out how to improve the driving experience concept. The goal was simple—to establish Driving 101 as the premier and only full sized, open wheel driving experience in the world. In doing that, auto racing fans, corporate clients, and non fans alike are exposed to open wheel racing and will be able to better understand all the excitement and intricacies of one of the most popular forms of racing in the world.

Driving 101 quickly expanded to nine locations nationwide by 2004. In order to take Driving 101, “World’s Fastest Driving Experience” to the next level, Lutz developed a business relationship with “Driver of the Century”, Mario Andretti, thus starting the Mario Andretti Racing Experience in April 2004.

In May 2005, Driving 101 moved the home office location from Las Vegas, NV to Concord, NC. Lutz then announced another business relationship with 4-time, NASCAR Champion, Jeff Gordon thus starting the Jeff Gordon Racing School which offered real NASCAR race cars that fans, thrill seekers and corporate America can drive on a superspeedway.

In July 2007, Driving 101 purchased American Racing Academy, formerly Derek Daly Academy in Las Vegas, NV. Adding a complete fleet of race prepped BMW Z3’s race cars expanded Mario Andretti Racing Experience to Mario Andretti Racing Experience Road Racing.

On July 9th, 2009, Lutz formed a multi-year contract with NASCAR to rebrand the Jeff Gordon Racing School to NASCAR Racing Experience. The NASCAR Racing Experience (NRE) provides a menu of racing programs from a ride-along as a front-seat passenger to the full racing experience which puts fans behind the wheel of an authentic race car. The program used current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race cars for its programs.

Another large acquisition for Lutz took place in April of 2012 when he purchased the famed Myrtle Beach Speedway. Over the years, Myrtle Beach Speedway has been the training grounds for some of NASCAR’s biggest stars including Dale Earnhardt Jr. (former late model stock car competitor) and Jeff Gordon (former Busch Series track record holder). All four generations of Petty’s (Lee, Richard, Kyle, and Adam) and all three generations of Earnhardt’s (Ralph, Dale Sr., and Dale Jr.) have taken a green flag around the asphalt oval that spans 0.538 miles (0.866 km). The speedway is home of the Myrtle Beach 400, NASCAR Racing Experience and the Horry County Fair.

On May 10th, 2013, Lutz opened The Speedpark at Concord Mills in Concord, NC. Revved up and ready for summer-fun, The Speedpark at Concord Mills offers visitors six acres of outdoor fun-filled speed. The motorsports park features single and double-seat go-karts, an 18-hole miniature golf course, Bungee Jump, Fun Slide, Spyder Web and tasty bites from a concession trailer. Racing enthusiasts will also marvel at incredible displays from NASCAR and Racing Experience and Mario Andretti Racing Experience.

On January 28, 2016, Lutz announced that – Driving 101, LLC, the owner and operator of the NASCAR Racing Experience, which is the premiere driving and ride-a-long experience intended to simulate the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series™, announced it acquired all of the assets of Racing Adventure, formerly Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure. The strategic move expanded NASCAR Racing Experience’s network of tracks and programs.

July 20, 2017, the biggest deal yet…Lutz purchased Richard Petty Driving Experience. He announced that he will consolidate NASCAR Racing Experience and Richard Petty Driving Experience and their operations to deliver the ultimate on-track fan experience at more than 20 racetracks around the country.

“This consolidation advances our ambition to be the best NASCAR driving experience choice for customers, race fans, thrill seekers and corporate America. In short, we will be the leader in the driving experience industry. This will reinforce the positioning of our core brands, expand our nationwide locations, strengthen our marketing strategies while offering the most professional and realistic NASCAR driving experience,” said Robert Lutz, CEO of Driving 101, which operates NASCAR Racing Experience. I started my career working with Richard Petty and am happy to be able to work with him and the entire staff at Richard Petty Driving Experience again.”

“As we have always done, we want to give the best experience for our fans,” said Richard Petty. “Boston Ventures acquired Richard Petty Driving Experience in 2008. When they decided to exit and sell the business, we had an opportunity to consolidate the industry and bring the two faces of the sport together – Petty and NASCAR are one in the same.”

Driving 101 LLC is the leading experiential racing company in North America owning and operating the NASCAR Racing Experience, the Mario Andretti Racing experience, Myrtle Beach Speedway and The SPEEDPARK at Concord Mills. Offering the most realistic racing programs available to NASCAR and Open Wheeled racing fans Nationwide, Driving 101 programs are conducted at over 19 racetracks across the United States and offer a vast array of corporate outings and motorsports themed events.

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