MONTEREY, Calif. — A new era is being ushered in at Laguna Seca Recreation Area, home to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Track president and general manager John Narigi is merging his business acumen with a solid management team that has years of experience at the County of Monterey’s 542-acre multi-purpose complex.
Narigi comes to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after 40-plus years in in the hospitality sector, where he oversaw numerous turnarounds that took major underperforming properties into profitable ventures.
He also has been awarded with numerous accolades over the years from Monterey associations for his contributions to improving the business landscape throughout the county.
The management team consists of individuals who are deeply versed in all areas of the facility and its major events.
“It is important to the owners and I that a knowledgeable and skilled team assume the helm of their departments,” said Narigi. “This is the best team in the business and each person has the passion for the facility, our events and series, track renters, sponsors, campers, hospitality clients and for every guest who enters to enjoy this world-renowned treasure.
“My priority is to invigorate the team and guide them by adapting sound business practices that will ensure WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca will deliver on our promise to everyone of a world-class experience,” Narigi continued. “This includes enhancing the family experience with activities that will support the on-track racing action.”
Returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after seven months in San Diego is Barry Toepke, who becomes Director of Marketing and Communications and the event manager for the annual and highly anticipated Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, which is one of the pillars of Monterey Classic Car Week held each August.
Toepke spent 10 years internally at Laguna Seca managing communications and historic racing and was integral in growing the event’s popularity. He first became involved in the historic racing event in 1989.
The management team is stepping right into place and have played integral roles in the success of not only the Rolex Reunion, but the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and last year’s inaugural Firestone Grand Prix of Monterey that welcomed IndyCar back to the storied race circuit.
The passion for WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca extends from Monterey resident, MotoAmerica co-founder and three-time world champion Wayne Rainey who brings his racing series to his home track, to the people who run its daily operations.
Together, the team has nearly 100 years’ experience at Laguna Seca that ensures each activity runs seamlessly and successfully.
The team consists of (in alphabetical order):
Matt Brady, Track Manager
Brandy Falconer, Communications Manager
Steve Fields, Sr. VP of Sales
Rick Garcia, Director of Facilities
Mark Mathe, Director of Operations
Kathy Muller, Retail Manager
Lisa Saclayan, Ticket Manager
Jeanie Sumners, Marketing Manager
Aaron Tharpe, Director of Sales and Sponsorships
Barry Toepke, Director of Marketing and Communications
Judy Varley, Track Rental Coordinator
“I am incredibly proud of the entire team who has shown immense passion and dedication to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and in their desire to work as a team to think out of the box and work toward exceeding all guests’ expectations,” Narigi added. “The County of Monterey has entrusted us to bring about a positive change after it became evident new leadership was needed to ensure today’s visitors and the generations who will follow are able to enjoy everything this facility has to offer, whether it is the races, the year-round RV and tent camping, festivals or specialized corporate hospitality venues that are entirely unique to Monterey County and beyond.”