Sunday, November 18, 2007
NASCAR chairman France reiterates family's commitment to NASCAR, ISC
By Terry Blount ESPN.com
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- NASCAR chairman Brian France said Sunday he is in the sport for the long haul. He emphasized again that NASCAR is not for sale.
Brian France said he intends to stay NASCAR's chairman for the foreseeable future.
A recent report stated that a European investment firm was interested in buying NASCAR from the France family. France was asked if NASCAR had received inquiries about selling the company.
"All the time," he said. "But we don't take the inquiries and don't have meetings with private equity firms. I can't be any clearer than that, but I'll say as directly as I can that NASCAR is not for sale."
Recent reports also indicated Brian might step down and have his uncle, Jim France, take over as chairman. Jim is the vice chairman and executive vice president of NASCAR. He also is the CEO of International Speedway Corp., a public company that owns 12 tracks where NASCAR races.
"I'm committed to my job for the foreseeable future," Brian France said. "That's years, not months. And my family is absolutely committed. We are not interested in selling NASCAR or International Speedway Corporation."
Jim is the brother of Bill France Jr., the former NASCAR chairman who died earlier this year. Lesa France Kennedy, Brian's sister, is the president of ISC and a member of NASCAR's board of directors.
"Our management team, from [president] Mike Helton on down, is the best in sports," France said. "My sister, my uncle and myself, we're all committed. The fact that we lost our father this year may be where some of this [speculation] comes from."
France also was asked about this year's Chase for the Nextel Cup and whether it disappointed him that only two drivers -- Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon -- had a shot at the title entering the final race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
"Our preferable outcome would be all 12 [Chase drivers] within 20 points of each other," France said. "But Jimmie Johnson is having a run that may be unmatched in the modern era. He's had one of those years where he's just better than everybody else."
France said the Chase format is fine and shouldn't be criticized because one driver dominated at the end.
"Everyone isolates us out as some special phenomenon," France said. "But look what you have right now in the NFL with the [New England] Patriots. They are better than everybody else.
"I'm sure [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell would like a Super Bowl score of 34-31, but that doesn't always happen. It's part of sports."
Terry Blount covers motorsports for ESPN.com. He can be reached at