Robertson followed Ralph Seagraves as leader of R. J. Reynolds’ title sponsorship of what was then known as the Winston Cup, and helped propel the sport to even greater success. Like Seagraves, Robertson helped transform NASCAR from a regional series into a major national and international enterprise. RJR decided to invest in NASCAR as a marketing platform after the government banned cigarette advertising on TV and radio. Robertson joined the company as an administrative trainee in 1971, the same year the Winston Cup began. Twenty years later, The Sporting News named him one of the 50 most powerful people in sports. Through RJR, Robertson had a similar role in the growth of the National Hot Rod Association. In later years he led the fight to prevent government restrictions on tobacco company involvement in racing. “T. Wayne Robertson has had such an impact on this sport,” Speedway Motorsports chairman Bruton Smith told The New York Times after Robertson’s death in a boating accident. “It's going to be tough to replace him.” He was 48.