In the Driver’s Seat: Joie Chitwood III ready to help steer Barrett-Jackson to new heights

In the Driver’s Seat: Joie Chitwood III ready to help steer Barrett-Jackson to new heights

By Summer Aguirre

Joie Chitwood III began his career executing daring stunts with cars, and now, as Barrett-Jackson’s new chief operating officer, he finds himself in the collector car world.

In October, the longtime motorsports and live event industries executive extended his resume with his acceptance of the position of Barrett-Jackson’s chief operating officer. His role works alongside chairman and CEO Craig Jackson in leading the collector car auction company’s daily operations, and he looks forward to contributing to its success accelerating into the new year.

“I’ve had such great opportunity in what I call the car world, and I’ve represented and been part of some fantastic brands — Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Daytona International Speedway — and so now to be a part of the Barrett-Jackson family, I couldn’t ask for anything more,” Chitwood says.

“It’s about working for these iconic brands that were built by a family and turned into something that is truly extraordinary. So, for me, it was exciting to join another entity that has such a great brand, such a great standing and at the end of the day is the world’s greatest collector car auction company.

“I’m excited and, really, it fits well with the places that I’ve been, and I can’t wait to be here longer than a month and do even more for the company.”

Chitwood’s first big undertaking in the new year is Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale, the company’s largest and longest auction, from Saturday, January 21, to Sunday, January 29. The COO says he can’t wait for the event.

“It is a phenomenon. It is truly something set apart from any other auction event out there. And for us, it’s that motorsports lifestyle event. We’ve had so many elements — whether it’s family day, the future collector car show, Barrett-Jackson Cup,” he says. “We’ve been able to take I think the unique part of our business but add a segment for every person, whether it’s younger enthusiasts, more seasoned collectors, or anybody in the middle who just wants to see and be seen and show up at really one of the coolest events in the world.”

Chitwood hopes to continue to drive the success Barrett-Jackson has seen over recent years, including 2022, which was a record year in Barrett-Jackson’s history. He says that January 2022’s sales exceeded $203 million, with $8.8 million raised for charity.

His team’s focus is continuing to set the show apart from others to reach new goals by ensuring that they provide excellent content, cars and entertainment for bidders, consignors and attendees in the Valley and across all of Barrett-Jackson’s annual events.

“I think those are great goals for us to continue to drive, whether it’s auctioning more cars or creating more value,” he says. “We’re creating more unique content with our partners at Endeavor and IMG offering our guests something they haven’t seen.”

With the Super Bowl in Glendale and the WM Phoenix Open golf tournament just weeks after the Scottsdale Auction, event season in Arizona begins with Barrett-Jackson, and Chitwood sees their timing early in the year as a chance to set the tone for the rest of 2023.

“We’re going to put on a great event, and I think everybody in Scottsdale is going to be very impressed,” he adds.

Chitwood relocated to Scottsdale to join the Barrett-Jackson team following his position as vice president of corporate development and tournament director for the Arnold Palmer Group in Orlando, Florida.

He was responsible for growing the various Arnold Palmer Group businesses, in addition to the Arnold & Winnie Palmer Foundation’s golf events, including its flagship event, the Arnold Palmer Invitational and the Arnold Palmer Open.

Prior to that, he was International Speedway Corporation’s (ISC) executive vice president and chief operating officer, in which he was accountable for the leadership, management and oversight of the operations of the 12 ISC motorsports facilities and development department. He joined ISC in 2009 as vice president of business operations before holding the position as president of ISC’s flagship motorsports facility, Daytona International Speedway from 2010 to 2016.

Chitwood was also the president and chief operating officer of Indianapolis Motor Speedway, overseeing day-to-day operations for the venue, which included its inn and golf course. He began his time on the speedway’s staff in 2002 as senior vice president, business affairs.

His work has earned him accolades such as the SportsBusiness Journal 40 under 40 in 2009 and Indianapolis Business Journal 40 under 40 in 2007.

Chitwood’s experience in motorsports and the live entertainment world began at a young age. His grandfather was Joie Chitwood Sr., a racecar driver who was known for his daredevilry in the family’s traveling automobile stunt show, “Joie Chitwood Thrill Show.”

Since he was 5, Chitwood grew up going on countrywide tours with his family for several performances a week from June to October. His career included performing as a stuntman, a specialist in precision driving and even holding a truck driver’s license to drive a car carrier.

He worked in his family’s entertainment business for 20 years before embarking to the University of Florida to obtain a degree in business administration and finance, followed by studying at Cambridge University in England and earning his MBA from the University of South Florida.

Chitwood credits his experiences during his time at the “Joie Chitwood Thrill Show” and school as the roots of his success in the motorsports and live event industries.

“I think my grandfather would have been extremely proud when I left the family stunt show, and I went out there and found a great opportunity to achieve success. I got the lead on iconic sports brands,” he says.

“So I think I was successful because of how he trained me and got me ready for it, and as much as it was challenging to leave the family business, it was all those experiences and that training that he gave me that I was able to take to different sports properties and really have an impact on what they did and their successes.

“I just feel like this is what I was made to do, work in these types of events and be associated with family businesses but, more importantly, represent iconic brands and continue the legacy that has been created.”

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