CHARLOTTE (October 12, 2023) – Parella Motorsports Holdings (PMH) named Connie Nyholm, majority owner and CEO of VIRginia International Raceway (VIR), the inaugural winner of the PMH Trailblazer Award. The presentation took place during a Women in Motorsports North America (WIMNA) Fundraising Dinner at the VIR SpeedTour on Saturday night. The newly-established award recognizes individuals who have made a significant and lasting impact in motorsports.
“We’re very excited to launch this award, and proud to recognize Connie as the first recipient,” said Tony Parella, CEO of PMH. “She’s had such a profound impact in motorsports—creating the concept of a motorsports resort, revitalizing VIR to bring road racing back to southern Virginia, and being another example of a woman in motorsports who is helping to raise the bar. She perfectly embodies what the PMH Trailblazer Award looks to recognize.”
The PMH Trailblazer Award recognizes someone who challenges the status quo and forges their own path to success while opening up opportunities for other people. Nyholm has done exactly that.
Nyholm was self-employed with a commercial real estate firm in New York City when she was presented with the opportunity to revive VIR in the late 1990s. Repaving the historic circuit that originally opened in 1957 and adding a variety of activity, lodging and dining options, Nyholm and business partner Harvey Siegel turned VIR into America’s first “motorsports resort.” Attracting top professional sports car and motorcycle racing series within two years of the circuit reopening, Nyholm has continued to lead the charge while also pushing the envelope of how a racetrack is viewed.
In 2014, she became one of the only female majority owners of a racetrack in America. Under her guidance, the track has received international acclaim as one of the world’s most beautiful and challenging circuits.
“[The award] was completely unexpected and very much appreciated,” said Nyholm after the event. “Tony doesn’t strike me as someone who recognizes others casually. When [he] says something, it is well thought out, heartfelt and sincere. It means a lot to receive the Trailblazer Award.”
PMH will host two more SpeedTour events this year before closing out their 2023 calendar. The Spring Mountain SpeedTour is up next at Spring Mountain Motorsports Ranch in Pahrump, Nev. The October 20-23 event will host Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), as well as the Trans Am Series Presented by Pirelli’s Western Championship and Prototype Sprint Series Association (PSSA). Then, the Mission Foods Austin SpeedTour will close out the calendar with a four-day event at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas. SVRA will join Trans Am’s National and Western Championships, PSSA, Formula Regional Americas Championship Powered by Honda, Formula 4 United States Championship Powered by Honda and International GT for one of the most exciting events of the year.