France, the man who transformed NASCAR from a niche south American series into one of American’s top sports died at the age of 74. He suffered a heart attack in 1997 and further health complications in subsequent years.
He handed over the chairmanship of NASCAR to son Bill France Jnr in 2003. Daughter Lesa Kennedy runs International Speedway Corporation, that owns 12 of the 18 tracks NASCAR visits.
France, like Ecclestone, was called a ‘benevolent dictator’, and had many critics. But France planned for NASCAR’s future beyond his own.
Ecclestone turns 77 this year and although he arranged CVC Partners’ purchase of a majority stake in Formula One Group, there is no indication yet who will direct F1 after him.
- Ecclestone wants to change points system
- Debate: Should Ecclestone buy Silverstone?
- Why Britain should share its Grand Prix
- “Bernie’s Game” (Terry Lovell)