The France family has been in control of NASCAR since Bill France Sr. founded it in 1947, staying in power so long that they’re still known as the “first family.” But just over a week after NASCAR acquired another major racing series, Reuters reports that the family is in talks of potentially selling its stake in the sport.
Reuters’ report is short, citing only unnamed sources in saying that the France family is looking into options for its stake in NASCAR—one of those options being a sale of the family’s entire stake. The report said the Frances are working with investment bank Goldman Sachs on a potential deal, but the sources, who asked not to be identified by Reuters because discussions are confidential, said the talks are at the “exploratory stage and no agreement of any kind is certain.”
Reuters reports that a NASCAR spokesperson said “We don’t have anything to add,” and that Goldman Sachs was not immediately available for comment. Jalopnik reached out to both for comment as well, and a NASCAR spokesperson declined to comment. Goldman Sachs has not yet given comment.
The Frances have been in charge of NASCAR since founder Bill France Sr., who was president from 1947 to 1972. Bill France Sr. also started the International Speedway Corporation, which owns and/or operates a dozen of the tracks on the schedule in NASCAR’s top series. Bill France Jr. took over as president after Bill France Sr., from 1972 until 2003. Brian France, his son, became Chairman and CEO of NASCAR that year, and is still acting as both.
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There have also been Anne Bledsoe France, Betty Jane France, Jim France and Lisa France Kennedy, who all were or still are executives and high-ranking employees with NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation. Lisa France Kennedy’s son, Ben Kennedy, is a driver turned NASCAR executive.
NASCAR also just acquired the ARCA Racing Series, a touring series that slots in not too far under the third-tier Camping World Truck Series, with plans of overhauling it for 2020. A sale of NASCAR in any capacity by its majority owners seems surprising, given that it made a major expansion at the end of April.
But it’s also no secret that NASCAR isn’t nearly as popular as it was during its big boom in the 2000s. It’s had trouble securing title sponsorship for its top series, the Cup Series, with Monster Energy renewing a deal for 2019 after multiple delays on its decision.
Monster’s also reportedly paying way less than previous sponsor Sprint did for those rights. SB Nation reported in April that Monster likely won’t stay around after next year, and that NASCAR’s considering changing its title sponsor “into a package that would include its television partners” from that point forward.
It looks like there’s a chance now, no matter how big or small, that NASCAR’s founding family won’t be around forever either.