As president of NASCAR from1972-2000, Chairman and CEO from 2000-2003, Bil France, Jr. presided over thousands of races.
France, Jr. with the the help of Junior Johnson ushered into NASCAR Corporate America. It was under France,Jr’s tutelage that R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company’s Winston brand of cigarettes became the underwriter of the sport. The name of the racing series became known as “The Winston Cup Series”. It was Bill France, Jr. who relocated the NASCAR banquet from a rather small celebration in Daytona Beach, FL to the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City in his successful attempt to involve Corporate America into NASCAR.
It was during this time that the sport blossomed and grew from a “Southern” phenomenon to main stream America. Race track sprung up all over the country, Fontana, CA, Las Vegas,NV, Phoenix, AZ, Dallas-Ft. Worth, TX, Homestead, FL, Kansas, KS, Chicago, IL, just to name a few. NASCAR was in the process of surpassing the open wheel racing as the biggest crowd drawing event in the country.
Bill France, Jr’s defining moment
The transition from a “southern” cultural event to main stream America was France, Jr’s claim to fame. But some think that his defining moment was his ability to negotiate NASCAR’s way into the hallowed grounds of open wheel racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1994!
What do you think?
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!