NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and Amy France attend 'A Funny Thing Happened on The Way to Cure'
On the eve of Veterans Day weekend, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and his wife Amy helped raise more than $6 million on Wednesday at "Stand Up for Heroes" in New York City in support of post-9/11 injured service members, veterans and their families through the Bob Woodruff Foundation. It was the latest in a long line of examples of NASCAR going beyond the call for America's troops. The Frances and another party bid and won a special auction with items and experiences from rock 'n roll legend Bruce Springsteen. The package includes a signed guitar and an hour guitar lesson from Springsteen, who also will provide a homemade lasagna dinner and a motorcycle ride in Springsteen's side car with "The Boss" driving. This year's event surpassed expectations, besting last year's record $5 million total. Springsteen helped raise $600,000 alone with the Frances and the other party committing $300,000 apiece to the Stand Up for Heroes Fund. NASCAR has a long track record of supporting the U.S. military, dating back to its roots. NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. began a tradition that continues to this day of recognizing Medal of Honor winners before the July 4th race at Daytona International Speedway . In June, NASCAR marked the fifth anniversary of its Troops to the Track presented by Bank of America initiative. Thousands of troops from local military installations across the country have been treated to customized VIP experiences which include garage tours, driver meet-and-greets and recognition during the drivers' meeting, among many other special-access activities. "NASCAR: An American Salute" is an annual tribute to the men and women who fight for our freedom. Beginning Memorial Day weekend in Charlotte through Fourth of July weekend in Daytona, teams, sponsors, tracks, the sanctioning body and its stakeholders sport special red, white and blue paint schemes and host military members and their families throughout the summer. On this Veterans Day weekend as the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup heads to Phoenix International Raceway , the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series will run the Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 as veterans, active military members and their families will be honored throughout the weekend. Like every weekend on the NASCAR schedule, the patriotic pre-race ceremony will feature an honor guard, a rousing rendition of the National Anthem and a military flyover. "It's in our DNA," NASCAR President Mike Helton said, "to help military families understand how grateful we are and to encourage our fans to do the same thing; it's evolved with the sport. Bill France Jr. and certainly Bill ( France ) Sr. were adamant about NASCAR being a voice to remind everybody that there were men and women who were making sacrifices so that we had the opportunity to do the things that we enjoy. "And a lot of it had to do with the fact that ( France Sr.) created NASCAR right after World War II ... he had a very direct purpose behind it. "But that culture was passed on and handed down; as NASCAR grew, that responsibility grew with it." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Brian and Amy France as well as other celebrities talk about attending the Michael J. Fox Foundation event in New York City.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, wife cap off year of support
Longtime track mogul was voted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame Wednesday The selection of race track mogul Bruton Smith to the seventh class of the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday came with a groundswell of support among the 57 votes that were cast. One of Smith's most vocal boosters came from what might be considered an unlikely source. Helped by NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France's stumping, the 88-year-old Smith was Wednesday's top vote-getter, leading the 2016 list of inductees with a 68 percent approval rating in his third year on the ballot. The selection comes four days before the 56th annual running of the Coca-Cola 600 , an endurance race that Smith created as the hallmark event for the track he helped create decades ago -- Charlotte Motor Speedway . Though Smith's contributions to the sport as a tireless promoter and innovator in the realm of track ownership are immeasurable, so is his history of being at loggerheads with NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and his son and successor, Bill France Jr., over how best to help the sport grow. That same adversarial relationship seems to have skipped a generation, according to 2011 Hall inductee Ned Jarrett, who said he named Smith on his ballot Wednesday. "I already had him in my mind before then, but I think that might've made a difference overall," Jarrett said of Brian France's statement. "I think some people might've been surprised with his support. Bruton and Brian have always gotten along real well, and just I think him showing his support was good." H.A. "Humpy" Wheeler, a longtime Smith associate at the Charlotte track through a period of tremendous growth for the sport, said he was present for many of the former struggles between Smith's Speedway Motorsports, Inc., group and the first family of NASCAR, noting how conversations frequently went with Bill France Jr.: "We conked his head a whole bunch of times, but he was hard-headed enough that he let us have it back." Wheeler said he believed the younger France's push for Smith carried plenty of sway with the voting panel Wednesday, but beyond that, it may have also smoothed over any lingering hard feelings between the two factions. "Brian has never been a confrontationalist -- never -- like his dad was and like his grandfather was," Wheeler said. "He's live and let live, and let's move on and get this thing going like we're supposed to be, et cetera. It looks like he's got a pretty good way of doing things because a lot of things he's done have worked … "I think we found out today that one of the great things about this business is you can bury the hatchet and everything's fine. And the hatchets were flying so much 20 years ago, and you were wondering, when am I gonna get one right in the skull? I used to wonder and think I'm going to put a helmet on, but you've just got to learn to live and let live and bury that hatchet." Though the relationship between Smith and the Frances was at times antagonistic, the net result was to take the sport to new levels. Smith introduced luxury suites, condominiums and other modern features that were soon incorporated into speedways nationwide, and the expansion of the sport to new markets was a mutual goal for both the Frances and SMI. Friendly or not, the competition was healthy, and many innovations sprang from its intensity. "He was, I think, a big challenge to NASCAR and the France family along the way," Jarrett said, "and I think that's one of the best things that could happen to the sport because he made them better and make them do things better. It was good that they had that rivalry going on." Jarrett said his respect for Smith stemmed from a long-ago victory at a half-mile dirt track Smith had promoted in the Charlotte area. When Jarrett went to the pay window, he said that Smith was there to help explain that he could not pay out the purse. Since the attendance that night was more than adequate, Jarrett said he asked for reasons why, only to be told that the IRS had seized that night's gate to offset Smith's early financial struggles. Jarrett said Smith wrote him a check for his Friday night winnings -- $150, he recalled -- but was told there was no guarantee that it would clear Monday morning. It didn't, Jarrett said, but Smith vowed that he would make the situation right. Jarrett said he stuck to his word, an unusual circumstance in the sport's earliest days, when crooked promoters often skipped town with that night's proceeds. "Then the rest is history as far as all the other speedways and things," Jarrett said. "I mean, he has made major, major contributions to this sport." With contributions and recognition for seven decades in the sport come the setting-aside of any long-ago grudges. In a statement released Wednesday evening by the speedway that he bet the farm on back in 1960, Smith thanked not only the voting committee, but also NASCAR's fans -- the lifeblood of any track owner. Though he might not have known the behind-the-scenes process that potentially helped spur his induction, Smith could also give a tip of the cap to NASCAR's chairman, who opted not to let bygones cloud the panel's voting judgment. "Rivalries are what makes the sport," Wheeler said. "But sometimes, you've got to put the peanut butter back in the jar and put the lid on it." 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Frances donate $50,000 to Gabrielle's Angel Foundation
NASCAR Chairman & CEO, wife donate $50,000 to help wounded military members
His first win at Dover was also the last for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. This weekend, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads to Dover International Speedway and for Martin Truex Jr ., it's a return to a site of one of his greatest triumphs. A native of New Jersey, Truex considers Dover his home track, and in 2007, the then 26-year-old found some home cooking at the Monster Mile. Driving for Dale Earnhardt, Inc. in his second full-time premier series season after winning back-to-back titles in what was then called the NASCAR Busch Series, the closest Truex had previously come to a Cup victory was a second-place showing in the 2006 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway . It all came together for Truex on a Monday afternoon, June 4, 2007 at Dover. Yes, that's right a Monday afternoon, after rain washed out the planned 400-lap event on Sunday. And the extra day wait was well worth it for Truex. Starting 26th in the field, Truex worked his way up and by Lap 125 he held the lead. All told Truex led 216 of the 400 laps, including 200 of the final 243 circuits to score his first career Sprint Cup victory by a stunning 7.355-second margin. His win was the deepest a victorious driver had started in the field at Dover since Tony Stewart in 2000 and has yet to be matched. "I remember everything about it," Truex said two weeks ago at Charlotte Motor Speedway during the Sprint All-Star Race weekend. "I mean it's like absolutely everything. I remember how practice went, what we did to the car, where we were. I remember the whole weekend. "It was a special day for sure. And to win there for me, that's my home track and it's like one of my favorites tracks so it was a big deal. We had a lot of friends and family there, too." Truex stayed hot in the coming weeks with a third-place finish at Pocono and a runner-up result at Michigan. He would go on to make the Chase that season as well. However, Truex's next win didn't come for 218 premier series races, until 2013 at Sonoma when he was driving for Michael Waltrip Racing . "Honestly when we won that race we thought we were going to start clicking them off," Truex said. "We had chances that year; that was a great year for us in '07. We were in position to win a bunch of races. A lot of times things went like they did last weekend (at Kansas). It was disappointing but we really felt like that season was our breakout season. Then things started to go downhill when things started to break apart (at DEI)." The win would be the last of 24 premier series victories for Dale Earnhardt, Inc., the race team founded by seven-time champion and NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. The month before Truex's Dover win, Dale Earnhardt Jr . announced he was leaving the race team at the end of the season. Starting with the 2009 season, DEI merged with Chip Ganassi Racing to form Earnhardt Ganassi Racing, a partnership that lasted until the end of the 2013 season. The win also came on the same day that Bill France Jr., the son NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. and the father to current NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France , passed away at 74. --- NASCAR.com's Kenny Bruce contributed to this report FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France talks about the decision to make Kyle Busch eligible for the 2015 Chase.
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, wife attend BCRF's Hot Pink Party in New York