Brian France said his uncle, Jim France, is doing a great job at the helm of NASCAR.
The former Chairman and CEO of NASCAR made an unexpected appearance on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Wednesday afternoon. Brian France held the position for 15 years after assuming the role from his father, Bill France Jr., in 2003, but was ousted from the sport following a DWI arrest in August 2018. His arrest led to Jim France to taking control.
“I think they’ve done real well,” said France. “They have less resources than I had when I was there, the economics have changed. So, some of the resources we were able to draw from probably aren’t readily available. That said, they are also managing through unprecedented situations with COVID-19 and now a social injustice movement sweeping the country. Either one of those is a big order, and both of those coming together is a lot.
“But I’ll tell you this, nobody cares more about the sport of NASCAR than my uncle Jim. He absolutely has a great approach, and he is doing a great job steadying things in these times, and so is Steve [Phelps] and many other people who are, as I say, having to do more with less in very difficult situations.
“I’m very proud of what they’re doing.”
In the past few months, NASCAR and its drivers have used their platforms to be more vocal about issues such as racial equality, and NASCAR also banned the Confederate flag. France said their values are in the right place, and that those actions show that they want to do the right things.
Brian France does not have an official role with NASCAR. In February, France announced he’d launched a private investment firm working with entrepreneurs and those who are launching businesses. However, France said Wednesday he does help NASCAR wherever he can, and wants to see everyone succeed.
“That will always be a special place for me and certainly my family,” said France. “So, I’m going to do whatever I can to help everybody in the industry.”
“It’s the people who you miss. I’m still in good contact with a number of people, but things move on. They are also managing things differently, which is what you expect, and they’ve had a different set of challenges than what I had. But the same issues in getting competition right, which is always a huge challenge, balancing safety and the competitive aspect of things. Those were big challenges; they are big challenges now, and you miss some of the efforts and working with a lot of talented people in the industry to get good outcomes.”
France pleaded guilty to the DWI charge in June 2019. Part of the agreement required him to complete 100 hours of community service and undergo alcohol counseling.
“Things are good,” said France. “Everything is pretty good in my life, and like everybody else, things happen, and you put your head down and solve challenges. You never want to have a stumble, but it happens sometimes. It happens, and you get through things. I’m doing fine.”
France also acknowledged he is not interested in returning to NASCAR in an official capacity.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not always here to help my family or the industry, I’m always going to do that,” said France. “But I always had said that there’s a lot of pressure in this situation and I didn’t think it served NASCAR well for someone to have 20 or 30 year runs like my father did. I think it’s good to have some fresh eyes on it, and now you’ve got Jim in there steadying things with all his experience.
“So, I don’t envision (going back) being a possibility, but it doesn’t mean that I’m not cheering them on and helping any way I can. NASCAR has been great to our family. It was a privilege to be (there), and I’m probably like most people, I probably took a lot of that for granted too. When you’re building something and running so fast, especially in the early years, but the kind of people that I got to know and hired and worked with, that’s the special part of what a good career looks like… It’s onward.”