St. Petersburg Times
Online: Tech Times
Print storySubscribe to the Times


NASCAR remains a family business

Bill France Jr. names his son, Brian, the sport's new chairman and CEO.

By Associated Press
Published September 14, 2003

LOUDON, N.H. - His father gave him the keys to the family car known as NASCAR on Jan. 10, 1972. Now Bill France Jr., 70, has decided his son is ready to drive.

Brian Z. France, 41, was named chairman of the board and chief executive officer of NASCAR on Saturday.

"Brian is well-prepared to lead this sport and this company into the future," France Jr. said.

He'll talk about it more Monday, when NASCAR's senior management team discusses this latest major change within the sport in a teleconference.

The news was supposed to break Monday but someone at Nextel, the series' new title sponsor, leaked it to

Brian has been directly involved in the sport's growth from southern passion to national obsession as president of NASCAR's broadcasting and digital entertainment with an office in Los Angeles.

The passing of the torch isn't a surprise. Bill France Jr. has been in declining health, battling cancer and heart problems. In 1999 he turned over the day-to-day operations to Mike Helton, who remains the NASCAR president.

France also owns International Speedway Corporation, which operates 13 tracks, including Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. He regularly is listed by Forbes as one of America's richest businessmen.

France's father, Big Bill, started the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing in 1948. Junior did every job imaginable to aid his dad and help the sport grow.

"I worked in the construction of the tracks, repairing guardrails," France Jr. said in 2001. "I parked cars during the events, worked the concession stand and made hot dogs. I stubbed tickets. We call the ticket taker the stubber."

He also toyed with the idea of becoming a driver, like his dad. "I drove in a few races," France said. "What I found out right quickly is if you're going to be a race driver, you need to be a race driver and not out parking cars. You can't park cars then go practice two laps and go park some more cars."

Though not unexpected, the latest France family news was still a stunner in the garage at New Hampshire International Speedway, where the Winston Cup's Sylvania 300 will be run this afternoon.

"Bill's done so much for us, it's time that he do something for himself," driver Rusty Wallace said. "I don't know why he hasn't done it already. If I was him, I'd be enjoying life right now instead of screwing around with controversy at times.

"We wouldn't be here, you guys wouldn't be covering us and I wouldn't be driving these cars if it wasn't for Bill France Jr."

NEW HAMPSHIRE 200: Jimmy Spencer held off Carl Edwards, bouncing the rookie off the wall on the way to victory in his second Truck series race.

Edwards, winner of three of the previous seven races, appeared to have a faster truck but found himself stuck behind Spencer, a Winston Cup regular, on a restart with 16 laps to go at the Loudon track.

Jeff Burton, another Winston Cup driver acting as Edwards' spotter, told his driver, "You know who that is up there. You'd better wait."

Edwards said, "I didn't listen to him."

As the two came off Turn 4 on Lap 185, Edwards moved up to the rear of Spencer's truck and the two came together, sending Edwards banging off the wall.

Edwards kept his truck under control and held off Bobby Hamilton to finish second.

"I should have waited," Edwards said. "I had a better truck and I got up there and raced too hard with him. It was a lot of fun, but I just messed up."

SYLVANIA 300: Mark Martin reaches a major milestone today: He'll make his 500th consecutive Winston Cup start. Martin starts 33rd in the No. 6 Ford and is 14th in points, 1,003 behind Matt Kenseth.


  • MLB acts the bully with Expos
  • AL: Chisox ride Colon's stamina
  • NL: Marlins thrill a packed house
  • Penny injury less serious than feared

  • Boxing
  • Sugar gets sweet win vs. De La Hoya

  • College football
  • 'Canes inconsistent but still cruise to win
  • Gators shake off doubt, slow start
  • Technical difficulty
  • Clarett expected to stay at OSU
  • 'Canes contain big plays
  • Freshman Harris out until second trial
  • Special teams a bit more so
  • UF By the numbers
  • UF Game balls
  • 'Noles seek new nonconference foe
  • Defense makes stand when it counts most
  • FSU By the numbers
  • FSU Game balls
  • Buckeyes extend streak by inches
  • Wolverines devour Irish

  • Conferences
  • Big East: Big third helps Pitt pull away
  • SEC: Georgia stifles South Carolina
  • State: UCF needs record day to rally, hold off FAU
  • Big Ten: Wisconsin stumbles, fumbles away game
  • Pac-10: Trojans click in all phases
  • Big 12: Hogs upset 'Horns
  • C-USA: Golden Eagles punish Tigers' errors
  • Nation: Air Force finds it can pass, rush
  • ACC: Boilermakers don't fall short this time

  • Golf
  • Dent's 65 within a stroke of his age
  • Sorenstam, Pettersen strike a blow at U.S.

  • Gotta minute?
  • Rocco Baldelli

  • Horse racing
  • Congaree frozen out in warmup

  • In brief
  • eBay item has James agitated

  • Motorsports
  • M. Schumacher wins F1 pole
  • NASCAR remains a family business

  • NFL
  • Picks, Week 2
  • Same Tuna, different diversion
  • Things make you go hmmm

  • Opinion
  • Rant, Rave

  • Outdoors
  • Daily fishing report
  • Preparation vital ahead of a storm

  • Preps
  • Kotchman, Quick can't catch King's Bowerman
  • Biladeau never looks back as Jesuit wins
  • DQ aids Plant girls at relays; Jesuit tops boys
  • Jesuit's Biladeau runs away with title
  • King's Bowerman cruises to victory
  • Lecanto has strong showing
  • PHU gets best of Seminole
  • Practice as targets pays as PHU wins at Keswick

  • Soccer
  • This won't be a party like it was in 1999
  • Letters: Ex-Seminole should have been kicked out
  • Rays
  • Rays detect no signs of a Yankees decline
  • Lou's worst club still inspires hope
  • In upside, this OF is peerless
  • Rays tales
  • Bucs
  • Hitting the high spots
  • A shutout as only Rice can see it
  • Waitress's joke hard for Sapp to swallow
  • Carolina blueprint should look familiar
  • Kickin' back with Thomas Jones
  • Sideline
  • Letters: Eagles fans reach the ultimate low
  • Lightning
  • Lecavalier, Stillman highlight first day
  • Success depends on growth

    Back to Top

    © 2006 • All Rights Reserved • Tampa Bay Times
    490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111