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."
Suarez's ascent latest success for NASCAR's development programs
RELATED: Full coverage of JGR changes " What Suarez, Edwards said HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. -- Less than two months after becoming the first foreign-born driver to win a NASCAR national title, Daniel Suarez can add another accomplishment to his fast-growing resume. The 25-year-old will become the first Mexican-born competitor to race full-time in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series , the sanctioning body's top level, when he gets on track next month at Daytona International Speedway for Joe Gibbs Racing . Suarez was officially introduced Jan. 11 as the driver of the organization's No. 19 Toyota for the 2017 season. He replaces veteran Carl Edwards , who is stepping down from full-time competition to pursue other interests. The Monterrey, Mexico native is a product of two of NASCAR's base programs aimed at finding and cultivating talent while providing opportunities for advancement. While competing in the NASCAR Mexico Series (2011-2014), Suarez was tabbed for NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program in 2013-14, which spotlights minority as well as female competitors. He was also a member of the NASCAR Next Class -- aimed at preparing youngsters for potential careers in NASCAR -- from '11-13. RELATED: More about NASCAR Next " Drive for Diversity "We started this dream 10 years ago with NASCAR, and right now to be in this position, to be in this opportunity is just something amazing for me and for everyone that has been helping me, of course," Suarez said. Suarez was a 10-time winner in the NASCAR Mexico Series, and won three times in the K&N Pro Series East as he began to make the transition from Mexico to the U.S., making his national series debut in 2014. By 2015, JGR signed him to full-time status in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and he was running a partial slate in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series . He responded by winning three times in 2016 and capturing the XFINITY title. "We're very proud that it validates our diversity plan in a significant way," NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said the morning after Suarez captured the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway . "All kinds of conversations on what we’ve said through the years is these things take time to find the kind of talent that can actually compete at a high level on the biggest stages, and he's done that." Suarez joins a growing list of drivers that have come up through the NASCAR Next and/or Drive for Diversity programs to reach its top level. Among them: Kyle Larson ( Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) became the first D4D and NASCAR Next graduate to win a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race this past season. NASCAR Next grad Chase Elliott ( Hendrick Motorsports ) qualified for the series’ Chase in 2016 and captured Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors. This season, former JGR teammate and NASCAR Next grad Erik Jones will race fulltime in the Monster Energy Cup Series for Furniture Row Racing . RELATED: Driver moves, other changes for 2017 On the Drive For Diversity front, crew chief Dave Rogers understands what a victory by Suarez at the top level would mean. "We're going to go to every race, we're not going to have expectations to win, but we're going to go to the track knowing that we can if we do everything right and the right situations come up, we can put ourselves in Victory Lane," Suarez’s crew chief said. "The neat thing about this is history. Very seldom in life do you get to sit down and say 'Hey, I'm part of history right now' … This is a living, historic event. This is a really big deal. So every opportunity is an opportunity for history." Suarez became the eighth foreign-born race winner in NASCAR’s national series with his victory this past June at Michigan international Speedway. RELATED: Relive Suarez's first win " Recap the history-making title season He will have a veteran crew and a talented group of teammates, Kyle Busch , Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin , at his disposal. All that remains for him is to slide behind the wheel and fire the engine. "When you are with the right team, you know that the opportunity will come, and it will come at the right time," Suarez said. That time, it seems, is now. &amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;gt;
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.
Amy, Brian France continue their fight against cancer
Following a historic NASCAR Championship weekend, which saw the best drivers in the world fight for championships, Amy France and NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France switched gears last night to continue their fight against cancer. The Frances lent their support to Gabrielle's Angel Foundation and its annual Angel Ball which has raised $27 million for blood cancer research since 1996. After the Frances were honorees at last year's event, Amy France took a larger role this year, assuming the position of co-chair helping to plan the annual benefit and maximize its impact. As part of their support this year, the Frances gave a personal donation and also donated behind-the-scenes race packages that will be sure to put smiles on the faces of children with cancer at NASCAR races in 2017. In addition, the Frances agreed to match any money raised by families affiliated with Gabrielle’s Angel Foundation who are involved in their own fundraising efforts. The Frances began personally hosting child cancer survivors at races in 2015. The Angel Ball took place at Cipriani Wall Street in New York City and honored the work of Carl H. June, M.D., Director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania, the late Robert Kardashian and Heloise Pratt AM, Chair of The Pratt Foundation. The event featured live performances from Earth, Wind & Fire, Dave Stewart, Vanessa Amorosi, Jon Stevens and CeeLo Green. This is the latest effort from the Frances who founded the Luke and Meadow Foundation -- named after their 5-year old twins -- in 2011. The Foundation’s mission is to drive progress on issues that threaten the health and wellness of children. The Frances partner with dozens of world-class charitable organizations, devote significant time and make multimillion dollar donations to combat a wide-range of issues related to disease, poverty, abuse and education. The Luke and Meadow Foundation, which is a personal passion of the Frances, complements NASCAR's long history of social responsibility. As NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian is championing meaningful changes within the industry through the NASCAR Foundation , NASCAR Green and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.
Brian France talks Chase success, diversity efforts
RELATED: France talks business, family at conference HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France reaffirmed his endorsement of stock-car racing's postseason format Sunday, saying he "wouldn't change a thing" about the spirited competition created by the elimination system. France's remarks came Sunday in his annual "State of the Sport" question-and-answer session at Homestead-Miami Speedway , site of the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) that will determine the champion of its premier series. NASCAR adopted the 10-race Chase playoff system for its top division in 2004. After 10 seasons of determining a series champion by cumulative points in the postseason, NASCAR competition officials introduced the current format with three rounds of eliminations and a four-driver championship shootout in the season finale. That format was adopted this year by NASCAR's other two national tours, a move that France said produced worthy champions this weekend in Daniel Suarez ( XFINITY Series) and Johnny Sauter ( Camping World Truck Series). "That's a big deal for auto racing. We're bold enough to do that," France said. "Anywhere in the world, that doesn't always happen. Our drivers have been great because it requires a different mindset to compete at this level. They're up to it. They may have had some reservations early on, but they're up to it, so it's great." France also addressed potential enhancements to the postseason structure, including the notion of greater incentives or rewards for regular-season performance. "I think that's a fair thing for us to consider, to make sure that the regular season is as important as it is," France said. "So I don't know exactly how we'll do that, but we'll look at that." MORE: Suarez makes history " Sauter claims Truck Series title
Brian France explains the key to running a family business
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian France , talks about the most important thing he has learned while running a family business.
Betty Jane France named Myers Brothers Award Recipient
RELATED: Full schedule for Champion's Week DARLINGTON, S.C. (Thursday, Dec. 1, 2016) – Betty Jane France , whose philanthropic endeavors away from the race track rivaled those of the well-known family business of NASCAR, has been chosen as the 2016 recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association's prestigious Myers Brothers Award. France , who passed away Aug. 29, 2016, is the mother of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy. She was the widow of former NASCAR Chairman and CEO William C. France . While auto racing has been the cornerstone of the family profession, Betty Jane France's reach far exceeded the boundaries of the track. Kind and compassionate, France was the guiding force behind the formation of the NASCAR Foundation, the charitable arm of the sanctioning body that seeks to improve the lives of children most in need. She served as chairwoman of the Foundation upon its inception more than a decade ago and was later named chairwoman emeritus. In 2011, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, presented by Nationwide, was established in her honor. Each year, the award recognizes outstanding charitable and volunteer efforts of NASCAR fans. Active in her Daytona Beach community as well as abroad, France also helped establish the Speediatrics children's care unit at Halifax Health in Daytona Beach as well as Homestead Hospital in Homestead, Fla. The Myers Brothers Award is named in honor of former NASCAR competitors Billy and Bobby Myers. Determined by a vote of the NMPA membership, it recognizes individuals and/or groups who have provided outstanding contributions to the sport of stock car racing. It has been presented annually since 1958. Myers Brothers Award Winners 2016, Betty Jane France ; 2015, Darlington Raceway ; 2014, Dale Earnhardt Jr .; 2013, Tony Stewart ; 2012, Jeff Gordon ; 2011, Drs. Joseph & Rose Mattioli; 2010, Jim Hunter; 2009, Barney Hall; 2008, T. Taylor Warren; 2007, Bill France Jr.; 2006, Benny Parsons; 2005, Rusty Wallace; 2004, Kyle and Patti Petty; 2003, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; 2002, Mike Helton; 2001, Dale Earnhardt; 2000, Kyle Petty; 1999, Junie Donlavey; 1998, T. Wayne Robertson; 1997, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; 1996, Rick Hendrick; 1995, TNN: The Nashville Network; 1994, Brickyard 400/ Indianapolis Motor Speedway ; 1993, Goody's Manufacturing Co.; 1992, Richard and Lynda Petty; 1991, Harry Gant; 1990. Dick Beaty; 1989, Bill France Jr.; 1988 Richmond International Raceway ; 1987, ESPN; 1986, Hayride 500; 1985, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; 1984, Charlotte Motor Speedway ; 1983, CBS-TV; 1982, MRN; 1981, Junior Johnson; 1980, STP & Champion Spark Plug Co.; 1979, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.; 1978, Busch Beer; 1977, First National City Travelers Checks; 1976, Junior Johnson; 1975, Bill France Sr.; 1974, H. Clay Earles; 1973, Wood Brothers; 1972, Winston Cigarettes; 1971, Richard Petty; 1970, Richard Howard; 1969, David Pearson; 1968, Wood Brothers; 1967, Richard Petty; 1966, Norris Friel; 1965, Ned Jarrett; 1964, Richard Petty; 1963, Marvin Panch; 1962, Hank Schoolfield; 1961, Ned Jarrett; 1960, Russ Catlin; 1959, Lee Petty; 1958, Bob Colvin. Here is the complete list of Thursday’s award winners from the NASCAR NMPA Myers Brothers Awards Luncheon : · NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Betty Jane France · Buddy Shuman Award: Jack Roush · NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Comcast XFINITY · Chevrolet Cross Flags Award: Tony Stewart · American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award: Kevin Harvick · Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards · Duralast Brakes "Brake in the Race" Award: Kyle Busch · Goodyear NASCAR Series Champion Award: Jimmie Johnson · Ingersoll Rand Power Move Award: Dave Rogers, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Crew Chief · MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Scott Vester, Hendrick Engines No. 4 team · Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew Award: Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 team · Mobil 1 Driver of the Year Award: Kyle Busch · MOOG Steering & Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Alan Gustafson, crew chief No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team · Sherwin-Williams Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch · Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson · Sunoco Rookie of the Year Award: Chase Elliott · Champion Sponsor Award: Lowe's · Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus · Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide: Andy Hoffman &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
France : 'Edgy, fun brand' drew NASCAR, Monster Energy together
RELATED: NASCAR, Monster Energy announce entitlement deal LAS VEGAS -- Mark Hall called it "a rare opportunity that doesn't come along every day." "If you would have asked me five years ago if I've ever contemplated something like this, the answer would be never in a million years," said Hall, Chief Marketing Officer for Monster Energy. Time flies. Contemplation became reality Thursday as NASCAR and officials with the energy drink brand announced a multi-year agreement that will see Monster become entitlement sponsor of the sanctioning body's premier series beginning in 2017. "It's a global brand that we took a long time to figure out," NASCAR Chairman & CEO Brian France said during a press conference at the Wynn Las Vegas. So why is Monster, headquartered in Corona, California, the right fit for auto racing's most popular series? "The reality for how impactful they are and what they can do differently is obviously they're an edgy brand," France said. "They're a fun brand. They get at a millennial audience in a different way clearly than we've ever been associated with, particularly at this level, and they know what they're doing." Monster will become just the third entitlement sponsor for NASCAR's top series, following Sprint, which departs after a 13-year run. Tobacco giant RJ Reynolds served as series sponsor from 1971 through 2003. RELATED: Drivers pumped for Monster deal France said the Monster project was "one of the few sales calls that I actually personally made because of how important it was to align ourselves with a dynamic brand that reaches different places and different audiences … they made us feel comfortable over time on a couple of things." Motorsports was the "DNA" of Monster, according to France . "When you walk through their lobby in California, you see that," France said. "You see the motorcycles and NASCAR memorabilia and all kinds of things, and that's who they are, so they understand motorsports. They understand NASCAR. They understand how to reach across and excite our core audience and help us deliver on a new audience, and that was very exciting for us." The company is or has been involved in Formula One, rally and motocross among its various motorsports endeavors. On the NASCAR side, the brand currently sponsors the No. 41 of Stewart-Haas Racing driver Kurt Busch ; NOS, a brand of drink also produced by the company, has an affiliation with 2015 NASCAR premier series champ Kyle Busch and provides sponsorship at the XFINITY Series level. According to officials, those relationships won't be impacted by the series' sponsorship. Their previous marketing efforts have been non-traditional -- you haven't see Monster Energy commercials airing during broadcasts of sporting events, for instance. "We do count on our athletes and our endorsers and to a certain extent our fans to do our marketing," Hall said. "… We have never created a commercial or an ad. We've done different things that we've been successful getting a lot of eyeballs on." The NASCAR sponsorship could change that approach somewhat. Then again, the previous NASCAR approach may also evolve under the new arrangement. The world of motorsports and how to market to its fans was new for the previous series sponsor. It took time to "get sorted out," France said. "But these guys are ready on day one. They have the activation tools, the plans and the people. They're a fun brand that's going to interact with our core fans in kind of a cool, neat way actually, and we've seen some of the plans, and they'll get bigger and more robust as we go along." So is Monster the right partner? France says officials are confident that’s the case. "We're in the fun business," he said. "We're racing cars. We're crowning champions. We're -- this is where people come to have fun … our speedways and (to) watch us on television. What better brand to have associated with us than the people who understand that?"
France addresses entitlement sponsor, thanks Sprint
NASCAR Chairman and CEO, Brian France , speaks with the media in his annual press conference at Homestead-Miami Speedway about the search for an entitlement sponsor for the Premier Series and thanks Sprint for 12 years covering the sport.