Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
In a challenging economy, it’s imperative a chief financial officer keeps a close eye on the books but retains a vision for corporate growth. Fortunately, Michael Waltrip Racing has Larry Johns who enters his fifth season as the team’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.
The Wisconsin native is primarily responsible for managing the 230-employee company’s cash flow as well as communicating the team’s strategic direction for execution from the shop floor to the racetrack.
Johns came to MWR after a year as the CFO for PPI Motorsports, LLC. There he was a trusted business advisor and managed budgets to achieve positive cash flow and profit improvement. He also participated in sponsorship presentations and worked closely with the team owner and chief marketing officer on sponsor relations and new business development.
Joining PPI was Johns' first taste of motorsports. While working in Hickory, N.C. for a furniture company, Johns came home to find that his wife (Sandra) had circled a job posted in the Hickory Record. PPI was seeking a CFO and Johns immediately called to inquire about the position. After owning his own business for almost a decade, he was looking for a change. Having a passion for NASCAR, he responded to the job advertisement and met with the owner, Calvin Wells III. After several meetings, Wells hired the Horicon, Wis., native.
After PPI closed, Johns and Wells joined MWR as it attempted the herculean task of moving from a NASCAR Nationwide Series team to three full-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teams. Fortunately, MWR enjoyed the support of Fortune 500 sponsors like NAPA AUTO PARTS and Aaron’s plus the strong backing from Toyota.
Johns has played a key role in managing MWR’s growth and not only surviving but prospering in recent years. While other teams reduced employees MWR added and boasted a 100 percent partner renewal rate.
Johns accepted his role at MWR because he wanted to be a part of a management team that helped bring Michael Waltrip’s dream to reality. Today, Johns continues his due diligence in helping the organization become one of the premiere elite race teams in the Sprint Cup Series while maintaining an interest in a championship contending Nationwide team.