NASCAR chairman, CEO France takes leave after DWI

Rex Christensen
August 10, 2018

France has taken a leave absence as chairman and CEO of NASCAR following his Sunday night arrest on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone.

He said in a statement on Monday that effective immediately he would be taking a leave of absence from his position "to focus on my personal affairs".

NASCAR was created by William H.G. France, a stock vehicle driver and gas station owner, in 1947 and has stayed in the France family's name.

France, 56, spent the night in jail, was released Monday morning and announced his leave from NASCAR eight hours later.

He is due in court to face the current case on September 14.

His lawyer referred reporters to a NASCAR statement on the matter.

"We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information", it read.

France was pulled over and arrested at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.

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"Mr. France was observed operating a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street failing to stop at a duly posted stop sign", ESPN quoted the news release as saying. His blood alcohol level was later found to be more than twice the legal limit.

The Sag Harbor PD says the pills - yellow in color, labeled T194 - came right up on the website. which touts its "pill identifier" feature on the home page. The legal limit for driving in NY is 0.08. Officers reportedly found oxycodone on France during a search.

France is a third-generation leader of NASCAR. Owner of rival company Speedway Motorsports Inc., Smith sparred with Bill France Jr. during his 31-year leadership reign, but has a better relationship with Brian France.

Brian France introduced a playoff system, overhauled the design of the series' cars and pushed for diversity within the circuit's predominantly white, male ranks.

Last month, France was forced to refute rumors that he was planning to sell the business. Aside from an occasional random call to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, Brian France has said nearly nothing about NASCAR's woes this season.

'We're focused on ruling and managing NASCAR. There's nothing to report on that.

Felix Sabates, who owns a piece of Chip Ganassi Racing, told The Associated Press that Brian France gets unfairly criticized for the sport's recent struggles and that this is a time when they need to support him.

In 2006, a witness called 911 after seeing France drive "at a very reckless speed" through downtown Daytona Beach, Fla., before smacking into a tree. She said she also watched as France "fell over his own feet" as he got out of his vehicle.

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