BROWNSBURG, Ind. (Jan. 16) – John Force Racing has beefed up its media and public relations efforts with the hiring of Lee Montgomery and Michael Harker to its PR staff.
Montgomery and Harker, who will be based in the Brownsburg JFR shop, will lead the media outreach and public relations strategy for JFR and its four NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series teams: the PEAK Coolant & Motor Oil Chevrolet for 16-time Funny Car champion John Force, the Auto Club of Southern California Funny Car for past champion Robert Hight, the Advance Auto Parts Chevrolet for Courtney Force and the Monster Energy Top Fuel dragster for Brittany Force.
The two take the place of long-time JFR employee Elon Werner, who announced his move in December, and Sarah Adams, who departed the team last summer.
“I’m rebuilding the team,” John Force said. “Elon was here a long time and did great work for us. But Montgomery and Harker come highly recommended, and we have complete confidence in them. Montgomery has already started and done great work for us, and Harker will join us soon. They’re going to be a great team.”
Montgomery and Harker will work with Director of Marketing Kelly Antonelli and Vice President of Sales Steve Cole in developing and executing strategies to promote the team and its drivers through outreach to media, as well as through JFR’s numerous social-media platforms and the johnforceracing.com website.
“I’m thrilled to be joining what I consider to be the top team in the sport,” Montgomery said. “John Force transcends the sport of drag racing in particular and even sports in general. He has assembled a fantastic group of drivers and teams, and I look forward to working with them all. Michael and I have big shoes to fill, as no one can replace Elon, but we’ll work tirelessly to get the job done.”
Montgomery, 49, has worked in NHRA the last six seasons. He led the media and public relations efforts for two-time Pro Stock champion Erica Enders, the Morgan Lucas Racing team and driver Richie Crampton, as well as several others.
Under Montgomery’s leadership, Enders grew her presence on the social media site Twitter from just over 3,000 followers to more than 35,000.
Before working in NHRA, Montgomery was a PR rep in NASCAR for a year, following his career as a sportswriter for many of the leading publications in the sport, including NASCAR Scene magazine and NASCAR.com. That follows an eight-year tenure at The Herald-Sun newspaper in Durham, N.C.
Montgomery, a 1990 graduate from N.C. State University, lives in Indianapolis with his two cats.
Harker has more than 10 years of experience in media relations, most of which has come with auto racing sanctioning bodies, including the United States Auto Club in Indianapolis and GRAND-AM Road Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla. He also worked for several years as an assistant producer for Fox Sports’ overnight coverage of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
Most recently, he worked with Norris Sports Group, assisting in sponsorship activation and media outreach for some of the agency's clients, including Amway and the American Football Coaches Association.
“When people talk about drag racing, they inevitably bring up the name John Force," Harker said. "I'm honored and excited to be part of his team, which has been so successful due in part to so many people's deep passion and enthusiasm for the sport. I look forward to working with the team, especially Lee, by increasing awareness and developing new media opportunities.”
Harker, a graduate of the University of Evansville in Indiana, lives in Brownsburg with his wife, Ashley, and son, Lucas.
Montgomery can be reached at [email protected] or at (704) 258-0903. Harker, whose first official day is Jan. 25, can be reached via [email protected] or (386) 547-3943.