NASCAR Drivers Respond To CEO Arrest And Resignation

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Busch had a media event Tuesday in SC for Darlington Raceway and said he hopes France's issues don't "affect NASCAR in a negative way".

NASCAR chairman Brian France has been arrested in New York's Hamptons for driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone.

The impact the arrest had on NASCAR, which has been in desperate need of positive news, was immediate. Regardless of his role in NASCAR going forward, it's important that he's healthy and that he takes care of himself.

Now the focus has shifted to Jim France, who has taken the reins of the sanctioning body, which is privately owned by the France family.

In the same call, Brian France praised his uncle several times in lauding sports auto series IMSA and NASCAR's recent acquisition of ARCA, a low-level stock vehicle series. Chase Elliott, a future star of the series, won his first career Cup race in a dramatic finish on the road course, and NASCAR finally had some buzz to celebrate this week.

Bruton Smith, executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., told The Associated Press that the sport will continue to go forward. France called into a radio show last month to refute a report that his family was looking into selling its racing properties, saying his family was "locked and loaded in its dedication to NASCAR". France blew through a stop sign in Sag Harbor, New York, police said, not long after Elliott crossed the finish line some 350 miles away in Watkins Glen. At this point in time, NASCAR needs friends and people that will help. "I expect them to do fine, and it doesn't change my job, so I'm going to do my thing". "That being said, it's a great sport and we go forward and we all should be very protective of it and be willing to lend a helping hand".

Smith was a longtime NASCAR adversary during Bill France Jr.'s 31-year reign as chairman.

The sport was booming in popularity when Brian France replaced his father in 2003, and although many of his initiatives were progressive and needed in some form, staunch fans have vehemently rejected his vision.

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Brian France has retreated from the spotlight the last two years as NASCAR has struggled with attendance and television rankings.

Because NASCAR is privately owned and run in large part by Brian France, Jim France and Brian's sister, Lesa France Kennedy, there is no clear indication of how hands-on Brian France was or what kind of void his absence will create. NASCAR said that Jim France, Brian's uncle and brother of the late Bill France Jr., would serve as interim chairman during Brian's absence.

The head of the most popular racing series in the US spent the night in jail - a punch to the gut for a series reeling from slumping attendance and television ratings, and a decline in blockbuster sponsorship deals.

Several figures associated with the NASCAR industry feel comfortable about Jim France filling that role, given his lengthy involvement in the sport.

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.

Jim France, son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France, also is Chairman of the Board of International Speedway Corp.

Brian France apparently kept the president's name out of his mouth.

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