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
NASCAR Chairman and CEO says sport will build on momentum
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: 'Teams just elevate … when there is more on the line' RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said he expects one of the four teams contending for this year's Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup championship to win the title by winning Sunday's race at Homestead-Miami Speedway . The Ford EcoBoost 400 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) is the 36th and final race of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, and the finale of the 10-race Chase. Denny Hamlin ( Joe Gibbs Racing ), Kevin Harvick ( Stewart-Haas Racing ), Joey Logano ( Team Penske ) and Ryan Newman ( Richard Childress Racing ) are competing for the title, having survived and advanced through three previous rounds to reach the championship event. Because the points were reset after every round, each of the four drivers enter this weekend's event tied atop the standings. The driver finishing highest in the race will be crowned champion for 2014. "That's the coolest part of what's happened here -- and I'll be really surprised if one of those four teams doesn't win the race," France said Wednesday on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. "Anything's possible, who knows? But the way … history has gone, teams just elevate, athletes elevate (their game) when there is more on the line. And it's exciting to watch." France referenced Tony Stewart 's stirring win at Homestead in 2011, a victory that earned the veteran a third Sprint Cup title, calling it "one of the best performances I've seen from a driver." "He had to win the race, had to beat Carl Edwards and did just that," France said. Changes to the Chase format this year expanded the field to 16 teams and divided the Chase into three three-race segments -- the Challenger Round, Contender Round and Eliminator Round -- followed by a one-race Championship Round. Chase eligible drivers scoring a win in each round automatically advanced to the next round, with four drivers lowest in points being eliminated. The remaining spots in the field for each round were determined based on points earned in that round. While Harvick and Logano advanced thanks to timely victories -- Logano at Loudon and Kansas, Harvick at Charlotte and Phoenix -- and accumulating the points needed when they didn't win, others weren't as fortunate. Former champions such as Jimmie Johnson , Jeff Gordon , Matt Kenseth and Brad Keselowski all eventually were knocked from contention, leaving some to question the process. "I would say that with any format that we would ever devise, with the exception of if we qualify that with a 'you have to win to compete for the championship,' that's auto racing," France said. "That happens. "Talk to Rusty Wallace, who won more races (than anyone) in a given year, talk to Bill Elliott , talk to all the past champions, past competitors in NASCAR who had a stellar season but they weren't the best on any given day. "This format, you've got to be the best all the way through. There is no format that we're going to devise that weights it so much that if you win so many races that you're going to somehow automatically going to be the champion. … In my view, this is the best balance in auto racing. There's no question about it. You've still got to win and move on, still got to do a lot of things." Hamlin has just a single win (at Talladega earlier this year) while Newman has yet to win since joining RCR prior to the start of the 2014 season. Yet both have managed to advance and now find themselves with a chance to win their first Sprint Cup title. " Ryan Newman did everything he needed to do to put himself in position to be a champion, and those are all great things for us," France said. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France talks about the 2014 Chase format and how it has exceeded his expectations.
Brain France addresses the media at Homestead-Miami Speedway to share his thoughts on the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup and previews what type of a race the Ford EcoBoost 400 could be.
New officers include dynamic leaders from across several key departments DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR today announced it has promoted five leaders in its Daytona Beach, Florida, and Charlotte, North Carolina, offices to Vice President, in recognition of their various achievements and leadership roles in key business units. The five promoted today include: David Higdon, Integrated Marketing Communications (Daytona Beach); Cory Posocco, NASCAR Events Group (Daytona Beach); Chad Seigler, Team Marketing Services (Charlotte); Colin Smith, NASCAR Digital Media (Charlotte); and Tshneka Tate, Legal (Charlotte). "We have developed a very strong and deep leadership team that has provided expertise and strong results during a period of unique challenge and opportunity for our industry," said Brian France , NASCAR chairman and chief executive officer. "Each of these individuals has demonstrated success in driving key initiatives across NASCAR and now become part of an overall leadership group that has us well positioned for the future." • David Higdon, Vice President, Integrated Marketing Communications -- Since joining NASCAR in 2011, Higdon has overseen several divisions within IMC and led numerous marketing communications campaigns and public affairs initiatives for the company and industry. He has also played a lead role in crisis communications and provided senior communications counsel and leadership during the creation of IMSA, which unified sports car racing in America, and through its inaugural season in 2014. • Cory Posocco, Vice President, NASCAR Events Group -- After beginning his career as Stafford Speedway's marketing / public relations director and special events coordinator, Posocco joined NASCAR in 2000. Since then he has steadily taken on greater roles in orchestrating special events, including NASCAR's annual Sprint Cup Series Awards show, Hall of Fame induction ceremonies and countless other events at every level of NASCAR racing. • Chad Seigler, Vice President, Team Marketing Services -- As a senior leader who helped create the Industry Services function at NASCAR, Seigler currently oversees Team Marketing Services, which helps drive sponsorship sales for race teams at all three national series levels and ensures the deployment of broad NASCAR resources to support various team initiatives. He joined NASCAR in 2007 after two years at Nextel and five seasons with the Carolina Panthers. • Colin Smith, Vice President, NASCAR Digital Media -- Joining NASCAR in 2012 after 14 years in various roles focused on college sports at RAYCOM, Smith has overseen the dramatic growth of NASCAR's digital platform, including NASCAR.com and a suite of touted mobile applications. He plays a key role in driving integration of the digital portfolio across various NASCAR departments and the broader industry, as well as digital distribution of NASCAR content through various products and channels. • Tshneka Tate, Vice President, Senior Assistant General Counsel -- A member of NASCAR's legal team since 2000, Tate has risen to become senior in-house counsel with oversight of all legal issues for NASCAR Media Group, NASCAR Productions and NASCAR Digital Media. Recently, she played a key role in new rights agreements with FOX, NBC, IMG and was lead counsel on the transition of digital rights from Turner Sports back to NASCAR in 2012. Before joining NASCAR, Tate worked in the Maryland Attorney General's office.
NASCAR chairman and CEO: 'There is a line' MORE: Official NASCAR release " Penalities issued to crew members, crew chiefs RELATED: Follow your picks in the Chase Battle Grid Presented by Toyota NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France said Tuesday afternoon in an interview on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that the sanctioning body was reviewing the tapes from a post-race fight Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway , and the sanctioning body was prepared to dole out some "harsh punishment." By Tuesday evening, NASCAR had suspended three Hendrick Motorsports crew members for six championship points races and fined $25,000 apiece. A fourth crew member was docked $25,000 and suspended for three races. The crew chiefs for the No. 5 and No. 24 teams, Kenny Francis and Alan Gustafson, were each fined $50,000 and placed on probation for six races. Jeff Gordon approached Brad Keselowski on pit road following the AAA Texas 500 after the two made contact late in the race, which resulted in Gordon cutting a tire and led to a 29th-place finish. He was running in the top-five at the time of the incident. Gordon removed his helmet and walked toward Keselowski as tensions and proximity among the teams' crew members increased. Once Kevin Harvick pushed Keselowski closer to the fray, the pushing intensified and some punches were landed. "In particular with the other participants in the sport, crew members or anyone else, … we don't have dugouts or sidelines," France said. "The drivers often are parked in the garage, next to one another. … It's not uncommon at all for someone to express how they feel, with a lot of emotion sometimes. We're good with that, we understand that's part of the game. But there is a line. When things escalate to the level that they did, or anything close to what happened Sunday, we will step in and deal with that very carefully." France also noted that Keselowski's late-race move was one of a veteran going all-out to get the win. "Quite frankly, he did exactly what I would expect any driver with that much on the line to do," France said. "He was looking at an opportunity to shoot a gap, if you will. It was unfortunate they touched and Gordon's tire obviously got cut, which was very unfortunate, but the idea is, that late in the race, things are going to happen when guys are legitimately trying to win races." Keselowski's move, and the emotions that it caused, were the product of a new Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup in its first year of existence. As for the added drama to the sport? "Welcome to big-time sports with big moments," France said. With two races remaining in the 2014 season, eight drivers are still eligible to win this year's championship. That includes the parties involved in Sunday's incident -- Gordon, Keselowski and Harvick -- as well as Joey Logano , Denny Hamlin , Ryan Newman , Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth . Following this Sunday's Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN) four drivers will advance to the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with a shot at the crown. "I think on balance, we still have a lot of consistency," France said. "Points still matter a lot. … I think we struck the right balance. We like what we see. It's elevating the racing, and that's our No. 1 goal." Newman and Kenseth remain in the title hunt despite both being winless this year. If either driver were to advance to Homestead and win the championship without winning a race, France said the sanctioning body would be "fine" with that outcome. "That could happen in any format that we have," France said. "In any one we've ever had or might have, we may be in that situation. You can have teams in other sports with losing records in the regular season win the Super Bowl or World Series. It happens." In 2010, France talked about the Chase capturing "the essence of Game 7s, eliminations," and with wins guaranteeing drivers a spot in NASCAR's playoffs, those moments can happen in any of the 26 regular-season races. "That's what we're trying to always have," France said. "Even when we're not in the Chase, we want the Daytona 500 , which obviously doesn't fall in the Chase, to be the biggest, most important event it can be. Given that we don't have hundreds and hundreds of races throughout our season -- we only have 36 -- they all ought to mean as much as possible. This Chase is certainly doing that." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL CHASE COVERAGE • Chase hub page • Chase Grid games • #MyChaseNation
Brian France talks to Alan Cavanna about the Chase changes and how they will impact the sport.