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April 23, 2021

Executive Compensation at the National Hot Rod Association

by Anne Paddock

The National Hot Rod Association (yes, there really is such a thing) is a tax-exempt non-profit 501 (c) 6 (a trade association) that raises about $100 million annually, pays its top executive over $1 million annually, and pays for all VP’s and above to purchase upgrades to fly first class.

In 2018, the National Hot Rod Association reported total revenue of $97 million (compared to $95 million in 2017) which primarily came from admissions and sponsorships ($74 million), licenses and fees ($13 million), royalties and concessions ($5 million), and membership dues ($3 million).

Expenses totaled $96 million (including $3 million in depreciation) with the biggest expenses being compensation ($24 million), prize money ($23 million), office-related expenses ($15 million), advertising/promotion ($10 million), track operations, food, hospitality ($10 million), travel and conferences ($6 million), and fees for services ($4 million). What these numbers tell the reader is that the NHRD, a trade association, does not rely on membership dues but instead on the revenue from hot rod events; and that most of the expenses are incurred from these events.

Net assets were $31 million at the end of 2018.

The stated mission of the National Hot Rod Association (NHRA) is to preserve and promote drag racing and improve safety in the sport.  To do this, the Glendora, California-based organization employs 1,370 who were compensated $24 million, which equates to an average compensation of less than $18,000, which indicates there are many low wage earners, probably working at the hot rod events.

41 employees received more than $100,000 in compensation with the 11 most highly compensated listed below:

  • $1,006,494:  Peter Clifford, CEO
  • $  559,418:  Glen Cromwell, President
  • $  529,613:  Bradley Gerber, VP, Sales and Chief Development
  • $  479,664:  Graham Light, Secretary
  • $  471,371:  Linda Louie, VP and General Counsel
  • $  337,182:  Ken Adelson, VP Exec, Producer and Chief
  • $  335,339:  Roy Abacan, VP, CFO
  • $  316,987:  John Siragusa, Sr Director, Sales and Bus Development
  • $  251,131:  Joshua Peterson, VP Racing Administration
  • $  200,000:  Thomas Compton, Former President (severance)
  • $  198,864:  Curtis Winiecki, Acting Treasurer

The 11 most highly compensated employees received nearly $5 million in 2018.  10 of the 11 most highly compensated employees are male while 1 is a female. It is important to note the $200,000 paid to Thomas Compton was part of a severance agreement, which is not disclosed on the Form 990.  This could be a partial payment or a full payment.  Subsequent Form 990’s will reveal if Thomas Compton will receive annual severance payments from NHRA.

NHRA paid for first class travel. Specifically, NHRA allows any VP and above to purchase upgrades to first class.

NHRA made gross up payments and provided tax indemnification.  No other detail was provided.

8 independent contractors received more than $100,000 in compensation with the five highest reported to be:

  • $489,000:  NEP Supershooters LP, of Pittsburgh, PA for television production
  • $389,724:  Compulink, of Silverthorne, CO for event services
  • $298,801:  American Corporate, of Long Beach, CA for security services
  • $233,255:  EKG Security, of Vidalia, GA for security services
  • $149,583:  Constangy Brooks Smith and Prophete, of Atlanta, GA for legal services

To read the IRS Form 990 (2018), click here.

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