Company News

CSP Exclusive: A Q&A With RaceTrac CEO Natalie Morhous

Third-generation leader talks about store growth, EV chargers, goals in new role
Natalie Morhous RLOY
Photograph by W. Scott Mitchell

RaceTrac is growing its presence in the Midwest, adding electric vehicle (EV) chargers to its convenience stores and more, all under the leadership of its new CEO Natalie Morhous.

Morhous, a third-generation leader of the family-owned company, succeeds Max McBrayer, who she served alongside as president of the convenience-store chain since February 2019. Morhous (pictured above) shared with CSP Daily News her goals for the Atlanta-based company in this exclusive interview.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why was now the time to make the transition to CEO?

The leadership transition had been planned for the past few years, and the timing was right to make the shift as we closed out a strong 2023. Spending five years as president of RaceTrac, working with our incredible leadership team, prepared me well for the transition to CEO in January. I am lucky to work alongside a team of incredibly talented and seasoned leaders, and am confident that, together, we will guide RaceTrac toward a very exciting future.

What are your goals in this new role and what is your vision for the future of RaceTrac?

I believe that my career path at RaceTrac has provided me with experience and insight into every aspect of our business. I have led various departments from strategy and development to managing our company’s wholly owned fuel transportation entity, Energy Dispatch, and gained invaluable experience in my role as president. Through these roles, I have gained cross functional expertise across the RaceTrac footprint which has prepared me well for the role of CEO. As CEO, I remain committed to RaceTrac’s continued growth and to constantly evolving our business to meet our guests’ needs. I am also committed to ensuring we live a culture where employees can thrive and feel like they are truly valued throughout the organization.

How do you feel taking on the role your grandfather and father once held?

I was born a TracFanatic. RaceTrac is woven throughout my family’s DNA. As the new CEO, and a third-generation leader for our family’s company, it is an honor to step into this role to guide the company that my grandfather (Carl Bolch Sr.) started 90 years ago. I understand the great pressure and responsibility that comes with being CEO, but I am motivated to build upon my father’s (Carl Bolch Jr.'s) and grandfather’s accomplishments and take RaceTrac to new heights.

In my 12-plus years of service at RaceTrac, I have witnessed a 40% growth in store count and our team member count now tops more than 10,000—all serving the 9 million guests that visit our stores each week. I would love nothing more than to leave a strong legacy so that RaceTrac will continue to thrive long into the future. The most rewarding part of being a part of RaceTrac is seeing the lives we positively impact every day. There is nothing better than hearing from an associate that RaceTrac has changed their life, or receiving a letter from a guest whose day was made by a RaceTrac team member. I am honored to be able to carry on such a legacy.

Is Max McBrayer retired?

You would have to ask Max (pictured below) if he’s retired, but as a man who has always put family first, we imagine he is enjoying time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Max McBrayer RaceTrac

How has integrating Gulf Oil into the company been going?

I am so excited about our Gulf acquisition, the largest in our company’s nearly 90-year history. We are thrilled to welcome this iconic brand as part of our family of companies. The Gulf acquisition is the perfect example of RaceTrac’s focus on continued growth and our commitment to initiatives that move us forward. We enjoyed the process of working closely with the Gulf team and are prepared to steward the Gulf legacy in its second century.

How does RaceTrac plan to grow over the next few years?

RaceTrac is planning on robust growth across our operating states in the Southeast and Texas in 2024, and we have exciting plans for additional store locations in new markets like Indiana and Ohio—our first-ever locations in the Midwest. We are also focusing our growth on our diesel network to serve the professional driver and will open our 100th store with high-flow diesel this year. We are proud of the progress we have made over our nearly 90-year history, and the grand opening of RaceTrac store number 600 is in our sights. To think back to my grandfather’s start in the business with a single Missouri gas station to the modern convenience stores our guests now enjoy is truly humbling. Throughout our history, we have evolved right along with our customers; diversifying our offerings and enhancing guest engagement to build brand loyalty.

What are RaceTrac’s plans for electric vehicle (EV) chargers?

As pioneers and innovators in the retail fuel industry, we have always been fuel agnostic, choosing to sell whatever legal transportation fuels our customers want. For us, as we see more and more electric vehicle drivers, it makes sense to invest in transportation electrification.

We opened our first EV charger at our store in Oxford, Alabama, followed by EV investments in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas with the goal to install 20 new EV charging sites by the end of 2025. We are committed to providing all our guests, whether they drive a gasoline powered car or an EV, with the same convenient refueling experience. Over the coming months and years, RaceTrac will continue, as we have throughout our history, to listen to guests and meet them wherever their needs may be.

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