Bickmeier on the fast track to the top

A BELLAIRE native is on the fast track to success.

Dennis Bickmeier, a St. John Central graduate, has been named the new president of Richmond International Raceway.

The track is owned by International Speedway Corp. which also owns several other NASCAR tracks. Bickmeier, 44, launched his career with ISC in 1999, serving as public relations director at Auto Club Speedway.

Bickmeier most recently served as vice president of consumer sales and marketing at Michigan International Speedway.

Prior to entering the racing industry, the Ohio University grad compiled an impressive and varied resume, based heavily in California.

Bickmeier worked in public and community relations with the Los Angeles Rams, the Big West Conference and Anaheim Sports Inc., which owns the Los Angeles Angels and the Anaheim Ducks.

Bickmeier was a standout distance runner during his prep days at SJC. He returned to his alma mater to serve as Lady Irish head hoop coach for one season, featuring all-Ohioan Jenny?Shidell.

“I am honored to have this opportunity. The next few months are going to be out of control between activities in Michigan and getting acclimated in Virginia,” Bickmeier said. “As I transition to Richmond, I will be looking for feedback from fans, sponsors, staff, community leaders and industry representatives on what we do well and what can be improved.

“Input will be key in helping us chart the future direction of Richmond International Raceway,” he continued. “It is a raceway steeped in tradition and excellence, which we will continue to honor. I can’t wait to get started.”

Bickmeier received his bachelor’s degree from the Ohio University Scripps School of Journalism and his master’s from the Ohio University Sports Administration Program.

“Dennis is a well-respected sports management executive having spent his career working within motorsports as well as with other professional sport leagues,” stated ISC’s President, John Saunders. “Having spent the past 10 years at two of ISC’s motorsports facilities, he is well prepared to take the helm of Richmond International Raceway. His proven management and leadership skills will facilitate a smooth transition from Michigan to Richmond. We congratulate him on his new position and look forward to his continued success within ISC.”

Dennis still has many families residing in the Ohio Valley.


WE EXTEND our best wishes to Marian Kajfez as she retires from a stellar career in education, spanning 34 years.

Her current post is with RESA 6 (Regional Education Service Agency #6) for West Virginia. She was an educator in Ohio for three years and 25 years in Marshall County schools, 15 as a principal. Kajfez served six years at RESA6 as director of Programs and Supplemental Services. She will continue to do consulting work on a national level. The 1973 St. John Central graduate has a B.A. degree in education from West Liberty State College 1976, master’s in educational administration from University of Dayton 1985, 45 plus hours to enhance administrative MA, continuous through 34 years and is a self-proclaimed “life-long learner.” She and husband Marc have been married 34 years with two daughters, Maran and Marri.


The Bellaire Toy & Plastic Brick Museum is hosting a Business After Hours this Thursday, from 6-8 p.m. at the museum located at 4597 Noble St. in Bellaire. The price is $5 per person and includes a tour of the museum, refreshments and more. The public is invited to attend this event. For questions, call the Bellaire Chamber office at 740-676-9723.

THE BRITISH Open unfolds this week. My pick: Lee Westwood. He is long overdue to capture his first major.

THE CASEY Anthony murder trial verdict was shocking to say the least. What is even more shocking is it took less than 11 hours for the jury to reach that controversial verdict. My biggest issue with Anthony is how can any mother wait a month before reporting the loss of your baby?

THE BETTY Zane Festival is a first-class affair. It brings a lot of excitement and people to Martins Ferry. It is also a better festival with a basketball tournament.

DAN ANGALICH has stepped down as Bishop Donahue’s principal. He has accepted the role of recruiting specialist for education at Wheeling Jesuit University. He was the principal at Bishop Donahue for the past six years, and did magnificent work in increasing the school’s enrollment. Angalich’s passionate work was a major reason the McMechen-based school did not close up its doors. He previously served as head boys’ basketball coach at St. John Central.

AFTER THE latest round of NCAA grid violations against WVU, Don Nehlen’s stock keeps going higher and higher. Nehlen won consistently, graduated his players, played for two national titles and did so with class. Rich Rodriguez and Bill Stewart were able to win, but needed to break the rules to do so. Hopefully, Dana Holgerson stays out of night spots long enough to clean himself up before cleaning up the grid program.

THE?BEST time of the year is almost upon us — high school football. The Rudy?Mumley OVAC All-Star Game will be staged two weeks tonight at the Island Stadium. The West?Virginia roster should benefit greatly from the recent addition of big schools Morgantown, University and Parkersburg South to the conference.

Kapral may be reached at bkapral@timesleader