LEADING QUESTIONS: Racing promotions require big drive

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Welcome to the latest installment of  “Leading Questions: Wisdom from the Corner Office,” where IBJ sits down with one of central Indiana’s top bosses to talk shop about their industry and the habits that lead to success.

Zak Brown, 38, started go-kart racing at age 13 and discovered that he had a talent for going fast and making strategic decisions on the fly. Those qualities would serve him well as founder of motorsports marketing firm Just Marketing International at age 22. Brown found that winning clients in the board room was just as thrilling as passing a rival in the final turn, and further fed his competitive spirit.

Just Marketing's approach was unique for the time—helping corporate clients design and implement marketing strategies based on racing promotions. The business grew from his own need as a driver to hustle sponsorships, and it soon began to overshadow his racing career.

"I started to realize that if you are going to do Formula One, which is what I wanted to do, you need to be knocking on the door at that point," Brown said. "I started to lose some interest in my career about halfway through, because deep down inside I knew I wasn’t goingt to get to the pinnacle, so I never had 100-percent attention on my racing."

In the video below, Brown discusses how his career as a driver helped prepare him for piloting a startup.

It takes a healthy ego to succeed in motorsports. In the video below, Brown explains why big egos—including his own—are good for business. He also details qualities of those he admires in the industry, including racing magnate Roger Penske, and how he tries to keeps emotion out of such a charged atmosphere.


  • big ego
    Love how he describes big egos as beneficial then goes onto talking about Roger Penske, and how he models after him in decision making. Roger Penske owns his own planes, does not talk about them, remembers names like the white pages, and never discusses egos that is why he is Zak Brown and Roger is Roger Penske ask anyone in the racing world what the difference in character is you will get a big smile with laughter.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
Subscribe to IBJ