NASCAR's Founding Family Is Looking Into Options On Selling Its Stake: Report

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field at Dover.
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series field at Dover.
Photo: Jerry Markland (Getty Images)

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

DISCUSSION

rctothefuture
rctothefuture

THANK GOD.

The current France family has fucked NASCAR into oblivion. Brian is an incompetent bafoon that believes changing the rules every 3 months creates excitement and entertainment. It pisses off long time fans and confuses new ones. I mean look how long the video Alanis made was on the new rule packaged!

They need to get the France’s out of NASCAR, remember Big Bill and screw the rest of them. Seriously, it’s incredibly sad how Brian runs the current ship. You can’t criticize officials, official NASCAR press, or talk ill of executives and their decisions. Classic example is Kyle Busch calling the “Car of Tomorrow” a turd in the Winner’s Circle. After that? He suddenly had more eyes and more penalties on his plate.

I’m not trying to call NASCAR a WWE show, but half the fun was the driver’s personalities. The anger, the jokes, the slights, the quotable moments that keep us fans engaged. You could call the flag man a moron, you could say the new ideas were dumb. If Big Bill had a problem, he shut you down after the fact. Brian France shut all that down for a “Fun and family type” event that is the exact opposite of what NASCAR should be. No fun racing leauge.

I attest that Big Bill France was not the smartest cookie either, and he ruled like a dictator. He had his favorites, and it showed. I guarantee that Bill would have never made so many 1.5 mile shit shows, but he also wanted a track run in a city. Family run businesses are always lead this way, with an iron fist and favoritism.

Kick out the Frances, bring in people with passion and business skill. You already have some, they just aren’t “the good ole boys” in your organization. So they get no where, while the ass kissers move up and repeat the same ideas. Imagine if NASCAR embraced their sponsors, brought back freedom of speech and let the boys “have it”.

But now I’m ranting, dreaming, and rewatching old Winston Cup races on YouTube.