Brian France happy with NASCAR’s stage racing
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about NASCAR's new stage racing format.
Brian France : 'We get that' emotions boil over sometimes
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to talk about the on and off track altercation between Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.
Richard Petty sparkles in Hollywood while receiving prestigious award
LOS ANGELES -- The bright orange hues of the setting sun lingered over the California coastline last Thursday evening, casting an appropriate illumination on the Hollywood hilltops in the distance and onto one of Los Angeles’ most distinctive treasures in the forefront, the Petersen Automotive Museum. Sitting on famous Wilshire Boulevard, the building's modern chrome-look design is head turning even in a city known for high profile. And inside it is one of the most impressive automotive collections in the world -- the Louvre for car lovers. On this night at this appropriate location, NASCAR’s "King" Richard Petty was honored with the Robert E. Petersen Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to auto racing and for raising the profile of the American automobile. Equally important, it was a wonderful chance to celebrate Petty's upcoming 80th birthday on July 2 with a large cake and an eager banquet room of singers. The evening's host and museum’s founding chairman Bruce Meyer welcomed the large crowd, revealing with a smile, "It's the first time having a King here." Almost 300 people were on hand to honor Petty, and there was no mistaking the eclectic attendance -- NASCAR's most treasured, old-school hero being feted by Southern California's coolest and hippest car lovers. Good vibes, as they say out here. "Richard Petty's an icon in our sport, the Frances, the people that built the sport," said retired racer Donnie Allison, an invited guest of Petty's for the evening. "Richard Petty is without a doubt the most noted name in all of racing. It doesn't make a difference who you know or who you talk to. "Bobby (Allison) and I were on an airplane coming out here and sitting next to a guy who asked us what we did. I said that we raced and he said, I don't know anything about racing but I know who Richard Petty is. "What does that say?" Before the formal sit-down dinner, seven-time NASCAR champion Petty joined four-time champ Jeff Gordon to film an interview for FOX Sports. With the famous "Hollywood" sign landmark in the distance, Petty smiled at Gordon and they discussed his family's "redneck engineering." "There was no book, everything was new," Petty told Gordon. "We were so dedicated to working on those cars, we didn't know if it was night or day." Dressed in a black suit and wearing one of his trademark black, feathered cowboy hats and black boots, Petty settled in for the casual time with Gordon and they talked about everything from receiving this unique honor to Petty's favorite winning hardware. "I've got them everywhere," 15-time Martinsville winner Petty said, smiling about the track's famous grandfather clock trophy. With seven NASCAR titles and 200 wins, Petty could not be more revered, and seeing him celebrated in this unique setting seemed not only genuinely appreciated by him, but also a true gift to the crowd. "I'm pretty sure he's signed more autographs than any person in the history of the world," road racing champion Tommy Kendall said, smiling. "Seriously, he's been famous for a long, long time." "It's easy to think of 200 wins and say he was good, but you have to think about that. Everyone had the same limitations and the same challenges of knowledge and understanding and the Pettys somehow raised the bar. "And he raised it in other areas, too, in terms of fan engagement and even something as simple as why his autograph is so legible. It's probably not an accident. People spend their time and money to see him and he wants to give them something." On this night, Petty gave plenty -- his time, his smile, his approval and his sincere gratitude. "I'm just getting old," Petty joked before the program began. "But," he added of the recognition, "Petersen has been in publishing of all kinds of racing magazines. Being they cover all types of racing, to be selected in something like this is really a big thing. I guess it winds up showing we had a lot of good people working for us to be able to put us in this position. It wasn't a one-man show. "What can you do by yourself? "I've accomplished nothing by myself. With the crowd around me we've accomplished a lot. I just happen to be the guy out front. I'm not pulling them, they are pushing me." Always one to share credit and appreciate competition, Petty invited some of his closest friends and even some of his former fiercest competitors to join him this evening. NASCAR executives such as Vice Chairman Mike Helton, Executive Vice President & Chief Global Sales & Marketing Officer Steve Phelps and Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jill Gregory were there to support and enjoy. Fellow NASCAR Hall of Famers Bobby Allison and Rusty Wallace were there, too, along with the great Donnie Allison, NASCAR team owner Rob Kauffman, Kendall and Petty's son Kyle, who played guitar on stage to end the evening. The musical finale came after the tributes, however. And there were -- appropriately -- hours' worth of those. NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and his sister, International Speedway Corporation's CEO Lesa France Kennedy, joined a lineup that included Roger Penske, Mario Andretti, Darryl Gywnn and others who sent video messages of accolade and homage. Newly inducted fellow NASCAR Hall of Famer, team owner Rick Hendrick, fondly recalled in his message that Petty's famous signature was "the first autograph I ever got." Former United States Presidents George H. Bush and George W. Bush sent letters to be read on stage. The elder Bush wrote to Petty, "You are a legend. What may not be as well-known is your life's mission to help. ... You are an inspiration about what is best about our great country." Henry Ford, the great, great, great-grandson of Ford Motor Company's founder, delivered a tribute in person as did other major corporate executives. Petty finally took the stage briefly to acknowledge the kindness and many honors, and as you might expect, humbly and briefly reminded everyone, "It's a tribute to not only Richard Petty, but to our sport." At the live auction after dinner, Petty not surprisingly offered a big assist. Two people were in a lively bidding war for one of Petty's famous cowboy hats. When you're the King, your hat is a crown. And after the bidding concluded, Petty took off the very hat he was wearing, walked to the stage and told the audience he would give it to the other bidder -- in effect doubling the money raised for the Petty Family Foundation and Petersen Automotive Museum. And making two grown men very happy. The spontaneous gesture was an apt display of both the high regard Petty has earned and his unending willingness to give back to his many fans. Hats off to the King, indeed.
France : 'Not going to get too wound up' over Busch-Logano flap
RELATED: Busch, Logano mix it up on pit road NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Monday that the sanctioning body is "not going to get too wound up about" Sunday's post-race altercation between Kyle Busch and Joey Logano at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. France's remarks came during an impromptu appearance Monday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio's "Tradin' Paint" program. Last-lap contact between the cars in a contest for fourth place left Busch fuming at Logano after the Kobalt 400 for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Busch's No. 18 Toyota spun toward pit road while Logano drove away from their collision to take the position. MORE: What Busch, Logano said afteward " Driver reaction Busch marched toward Logano's No. 22 Ford afterward and took a swipe at his rival, setting off a scrum that involved both crewmembers and NASCAR officials. The two were separated and had harsh words for each other afterward. Steve O'Donnell, NASCAR Executive Vice President and Chief Racing Development Officer, told SiriusXM on Monday morning that competition officials were inclined "not to react" pending a review of video footage of the altercation. France echoed O'Donnell's feelings, reiterating that the emotions and high stakes that helped spark Sunday's outburst are inherent in stock-car racing. RELATED: O'Donnell says incident under review "Listen, it's an emotional sport as you know," France told SiriusXM. "There's so much on the line for all these drivers and teams. … So much is expected of these guys to do their thing, so when things happen that are going to happen at a race, it's not terribly crazy to understand that emotions are going to blow over sometimes, and we get that." France spoke out against on-track retaliation, saying that he believed Busch and Logano would work through their differences and that the incident would not carry over from Las Vegas to another venue. "My guess is that Kyle and Joey will sort that out and there really won't be anything we need to worry about down the road," France said. "If there is, we'll deal with it. We'll look at the tape and look at the crewmember participation and different things, but we also want to be realistic that this is … there is just a lot of emotion and a lot of pressure on these guys to do well and compete at a high level. And when something goes terribly wrong, as it did for Kyle, emotions are going to get the best of all of us at some point or another. Obviously, that's what happened on Sunday." France also touched on several other pressing topics in his Monday appearance: On Las Vegas Motor Speedway adding a second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event in place of New Hampshire Motor Speedway: "Clearly, Las Vegas is a very accepted NASCAR market, but on balance, we don't like to see any track lose an event. It just has a bad feeling in your stomach when that happens." On the racing produced by breaking events into three stages in NASCAR's national series: "So whenever we do that, whether it's stage racing or giving greater incentives, then obviously you get a higher performance level. And that's true of any sport, not just us." On the move to reducing downforce in NASCAR's aerodynamic rules: "I was not a fan originally on the lower-downforce package, but I'm wrong a little bit on that -- or a lot wrong -- because that's proven to be the cars are harder to drive, it's more exciting for sure, and so the net of it is that attendance is up and ratings have been up and we're happy with things, but watching every week to make sure we deliver the best racing in the world." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
Key moments in France family history
RELATED: NASCAR is France family business MORE: Daytona Days: A France family affair December 1947: Bill France Sr. organizes a meeting at the Streamline Hotel in Daytona Beach, Fla., to discuss the future of stock car racing. NASCAR is incorporated. 1971: RJ Reynolds is introduced as the entitlement sponsor of NASCAR's premier series, creating a sponsorship structure that still exists today and introducing the "modern era" of NASCAR. 1972: The founder of NASCAR, Bill France Sr., hands over the reins of leadership to his son Bill France Jr., who becomes the second president in NASCAR's history. 1996: Lesa France Kennedy’s leadership launches Daytona USA (known later as the Daytona 500 Experience) at Daytona International Speedway , opening the destination’s first year-round motorsports attraction and museum. 1999: Brian France , Bill Jr.'s son, leads effort to consolidate the television package. NASCAR announces multi-year partnerships with FOX, NBC and Turner Sports. 2000: Bill France Jr. announced that he would serve as chairman of a newly formed five-member board of directors for NASCAR that consisted of him, Jim France , Brian France , Lesa France Kennedy and Mike Helton with responsibility for developing policy and vision for the sport. 2002: Kennedy led two development projects, creating Kansas Speedway and Chicagoland Speedway , and expanding ISC’s portfolio into two major Midwest markets. 2003: As a result of Brian France ’s major successes consolidating the television rights, increasing sponsorship and various other areas, he is named NASCAR Chairman and CEO. NASCAR also opens the 61,000-square foot NASCAR Research and Development Center. This has led to the safest era in NASCAR history and the unveiling of cutting-edge technology including the Air Titan, Pit Road Technology and the Digital Dashboard. 2004: Brian France announces the formation of The Chase, a playoff format for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. He also creates NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program dedicated to bringing more minority and female drivers into the sport. 2013: Brian France negotiates the largest television deals in NASCAR history, with 10-year agreements with FOX and NBC reported to be worth $8.2 billion. 2014: Brian France enhances the Chase format, introducing the first-ever elimination style playoff format in motorsports. 2016: Kennedy opens the World’s First Motorsports Stadium, a $400 million reimagining of an American icon – Daytona International Speedway , for the Rolex 24 Hours At Daytona and DAYTONA 500. Brian France leads the industry in forming a Charter business model for the teams. At the end of the season, he announces that Monster Energy will be the new premier series partner of NASCAR. 2017: Brian France leads the industry in the introduction of a new three-stage format of racing across all three national series racing. On the eve of Daytona Speedweeks, Kennedy unveils a flagship tenant, Bass Pro Shops, at ISC’s ONE DAYTONA, a 300,000-square foot premier mixed-use and entertainment destination across the street from Daytona International Speedway .
Daytona Days: A France family affair
RELATED : Key moments in family history " NASCAR is France family business It's been one year since a red ribbon was cut to signal the official opening of DAYTONA Rising, a $400-million overhaul of NASCAR's iconic venue—the Daytona International Speedway (DIS). It was an exciting time for Brian France , Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, and his sister, Lesa France Kennedy, CEO of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and Vice Chairperson of the NASCAR and ISC Board of Directors. This year brings similar excitement as they gather for Daytona’s three NASCAR national series races, highlighted by Sunday's 59th running of the DAYTONA 500. There are a number of reasons why. A green-and-white checkered flag will wave twice during each race, followed by the traditional black-and-white checkered flag at the finish. More than just colorful flags, they will usher in a dynamic format in which races will be contested in three stages designed to deliver more dramatic moments over an entire race, where every lap matters and every moment can have a massive impact on a season. While Kennedy’s ISC projects include a modernization of Phoenix Raceway and construction of ONE DAYTONA, the premier mixed-use retail and entertainment destination sprouting across the street from DIS, France looks to continue to build on the collaboration that has impacted the NASCAR industry over the past several years. MORE: France talks key to running family business “ Brian has such diverse talents,” says Kennedy. “He has a great feel for the racing side of the sport, yet he’s also great at marketing, a true visionary. He doesn't always get the credit he deserves for running this sport, but he was there early thinking ‘big’ alongside my father (Bill France Jr.), and he’s still thinking big today, not only with our family but also now with the entire industry.” "I am so proud of what Lesa has done here, from DAYTONA Rising to ONE DAYTONA -- and that's only in the last few years,” says France . “She's done it with passion and persistence, two of her biggest attributes. Lesa is without a doubt the best developer in the family. We are ushering in the next era of motorsports entertainment facilities, something this industry needs as our sport continues to focus on modernizing itself for the next 10, 20 and 30 years.” IN-DEPTH: Daytona rises even higher
NASCAR is the France family business
RELATED: Key moments in family history MORE: Daytona Days: A France family affair • Bill France Sr.: Founder and President from 1947 – 1972 • Anne Bledsoe France : Secretary and Treasurer of NASCAR and International Speedway Corporation (ISC) from 1959 – 1992 • Bill France Jr.: President from 1972 – 2003 • Betty Jane France : Chairwoman/Chairwoman Emeritus of The NASCAR Foundation from 2006 to 2016 • Jim France : Vice Chairman of NASCAR and Chairman of International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) • Brian France : Chairman and CEO of NASCAR from 2003 – present (Son of Bill France Jr.) • Lesa France Kennedy: CEO and Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors for ISC. She also serves as a Vice Chairperson of NASCAR. (Daughter of Bill France Jr.) • Ben Kennedy : NASCAR XFINITY Series driver (Son of Lesa France Kennedy)
Brian France : 'We want everybody to be a NASCAR fan'
LAS VEGAS -- NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France took the stage Friday at the Consumer Electronics Show to discuss how the sanctioning body is using technology to enhance the fan experience and engage with the next generation of fans. France was on the Sports Business Innovation panel with National Hockey League (NHL) Commissioner Gary Bettman and United States Olympic Committee (USOC) CEO Scott Blackmun. Here are the high points France delivered: On how diversity and globalization are critical to success: "We have a unique challenge because kids don't play our sport in the playground," France said. "We are the only ones in auto racing investing millions of dollars on combines for diversity drivers. These programs take time, but we just saw the benefit. We just had a Mexican driver, Daniel Suarez , win our second largest national series and that would not have happened without our diversity program. We don't do this because it is socially smart, which it is, but because that is where you find the best talent, and we want everybody to be a NASCAR fan." On how the Monster Energy partnership will help NASCAR reach new fans: "In our case aligning with the right sponsor is important. They help us tell our story and we count on their activation to take us to places and channels we would not normally be in. I am very happy about our new entitlement partner Monster Energy, they have incredible reach with Millennial customers and fans, auto racing is in their DNA and they have a smart digital approach." On fans' consumption habits: "The ways in which fans consume their favorite sports has changed in an unprecedented way, and that is the great challenge and opportunity that all leagues face," France said. "We want to be smart about how we attract (the younger generation) and balance that with our core fans and connect with all of them in ways that we have never seen before." On how technology can improve competition, safety and fan engagement: "We want to use technology and innovation to make our core product better," France said. "We all want to make our sport safer, and our games and races better. We are using technology to drive our sport in ways that we could not have even imagined only 10 years ago." On how technology, developed at the 61,000-square-foot NASCAR Research & Development Center in Concord, North Carolina, has helped: "The combination of innovation and technology can solve almost all problems," France said. "One of the challenges of outdoor sports is rain delays. We developed the Air Titan, which cut the time to dry the track. This was a huge thing for us to be able to retain our TV audience." On the introduction of the digital dash, which uses 16 customizable screens to monitor and record 24 different elements such as RPM, oil temperature and lap times: "This is the new frontier," France said. "We have an enormous amount of telemetry at our races between the drivers, crew chiefs and their strategy, and we are in the early stages of looking to deliver that data to fans in their seat, at home or through streaming."
Brian France talks family business, NASCAR at Phoenix conference
PHOENIX, Ariz. -- During a keynote presentation Friday at Transitions West 2016, a family business conference held in Phoenix, Arizona, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France shared stories of advice provided to him by his grandfather William H.G. France and father Bill France Jr. -- and how he now is doing the same with his nephew Ben Kennedy , a driver in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. "I sat (Kennedy) down a while back and I told him, 'You better figure out where is your value going to come in the business,' " said France . "He's going to get an opportunity. He deserves an opportunity. He's a great guy, a great student and he deserves every opportunity you'd want any other family member to get. "But on the other hand, I want him to really think long and hard about coming into the business where he can add value. That's harder and harder to do when businesses are more mature." Each generation of the France family passed down that specific piece of advice, Brian France said Friday, and NASCAR's current leader said he took it to heart. France saw his value in ushering NASCAR into the 21st Century, making bold decisions while using the constantly growing technology space to help bring the sport closer to fans.
Family affair: Brian France ’s NASCAR legacy
Learn about the emergence of NASCAR and how Brian France , along with his family, took his grandfathers dream and created a sport enjoyed by race fans worldwide.
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