TOPEKA, Kan. (Feb. 2, 2006) — SCCA Pro Racing Ltd., the wholly owned professional auto racing subsidiary of Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Inc., has named former Toyo TIre (USA) Corp. executive Earl Knoper president.
Mr. Knoper, 64, joins the SCCA Pro Racing staff after retiring as senior vice president of marketing for Toyo n 2005. He began his tire industry career in Michigan, managing six Goodyear retail tire stores. After 13 years with Firestone Tire & Rubber Co., Mr. Knoper moved to California, beginning a 21-year tenure at Toyo.
At Toyo, Mr. Knoper was instrumental in launching the tire maker's passenger car and light truck program and making it one of the top selling ultra-high performance, passenger and light truck brands in the U.S., according to an SCCA Pro Racing press release.
Mr. Knoper also founded the company's racing activities, and put Toyo on the map for performance and sport compact car enthusiasts through its involvement with such events as Hot Import Nights, projects like the movie The Fast and the Furious and SCCA Pro Racing's own SPEED World Challenge Championships.
He and his wife Jan will relocate to Topeka from California, and he will officially take over the SCCA post Feb. 6, the organization said.
“Earl Knoper's track record speaks for itself, and his addition is a tremendous boost for SCCA Pro Racing,” acting SCCA Pro Racing President Garret Mudd said. “His past associations have already greatly benefited the company and the SPEED World Challenge. He brings a tremendous knack for anticipating future success, which, along with his business professionalism, will be of great benefit for everyone involved in SCCA Pro Racing and its series.”
Mr. Knoper said he is “really excited about this opportunity. I've been passionate about motorsports since I was young, and have been fortunate to focus some of my professional efforts on racing. I'm excited to now focus 100 percent of my energies on SCCA Pro Racing.
“Through my past experience, I've learned that SCCA Pro Racing already has the best sports car racing product and is the best-run racing organization. I plan to enhance what we're already doing in order to grow our partnership potential and improve our racing product for our teams, sponsors, and most of all, fans.”