NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France Takes Indefinite Leave of Absence

NASCAR drivers react to leadership change			Image by Getty Images for NASCAR

It is yet to be seen how France's arrest and subsequent negative publicity will affect a rumoured sale of NASCAR, although the France family has denied that it could sell the organisation. The arrest comes at a time NASCAR is desperately trying to stop a slide in popularity.

NASCAR doesn't comment on its ownership structure, but Jim France and his niece, Lesa France Kennedy (Brian's sister), are the co-owners of the sanctioning body, according to available public documents and sources.

"We've got to look to our sport's future, what we can change and what we can do next", Busch said. His grandfather started NASCAR, his father led its growth and transition into the mainstream, and then came Brian. "Look forward now to the opportunity to have Jim France in there".

Busch has won six Cup races this season and is a series champion. It's been confusing to watch because Brian France, the one who should be leading the cavalry, has been conspicuously absent.

France was arrested and taken to a nearby station where he was booked for a DUI and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree. He's held the position since 2003 and made radical changes to the racing product that have coincided with a steep decline in NASCAR's attendance and television ratings.

"It's unfortunate, obviously, and [Brian] has got some personal issues that he's going to attend to, but I'm confident in the leadership of NASCAR", Hamlin said.

Sabates said team owners and drivers share equal responsibility in pushing the series to skyrocketing spending and share the burden with NASCAR in turning it around.

Sabates said France deserves to be welcomed back into NASCAR whenever he's ready.

It couldn't have been easy growing up a France, a dynasty of dictators who were unwavering in negotiations, and Bill France Jr. certainly demanded excellence from his only son.

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"We need to find it in our hearts to forgive Brian for his mistakes", Sabates said. "We're focused on ruling and managing NASCAR". He is fun to be with, he knows as many amusing jokes as his daddy, he is very charitable. "He's very charitable. He is a very simple person". His uncle Jim France, a vice chairman and executive vice president, will take over those roles on an interim basis. Officers reportedly found oxycodone on France during a search.

For France, 56, this is the second known driving incident for the third-generation NASCAR scion. While France is a Long Island resident in the summer, he was not at the track in upstate NY prior to his arrest.

Police say he ran a stop sign on Sag Harbor at around 7:30 PM. Officers pulled France over and deemed that he was driving the vehicle while intoxicated. That would be 0.08 for NY, and France had 0.18 blood-alcohol content. The legal limit for driving in NY is 0.08.

The impact the arrest had on NASCAR, which has been in desperate need of positive news, was immediate. He was greeted by several hundred supporters Sunday night when his plane landed in Georgia, which he touched on during a national conference call conducted by NASCAR.

France has been NASCAR's chairman and CEO since 2003.

Harvick admitted he hasn't had much contact with Jim France in the past, but appreciates his racing background.

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

So it is basically business as usual for NASCAR, and that's exactly the way it should be, said longtime France family adversary Bruton Smith.

'The France family is locked and loaded in its dedication to NASCAR, ' France on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. There's nothing to report on that. "Rumors are always interesting, but they're seldom right".

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