NASCAR's Bill France Jr. dies at 74

posted 2007-06-04 23:23:15 by grendel

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 4: Bill France Jr., who followed his father into the leadership of NASCAR and ran the circuit for 31 years, has died at the age of 74 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

France died Monday at his home. NASCAR didn't release a cause of death but France had suffered a series of ailments, beginning with a heart attack in 1997 and a diagnosis of cancer in 1999.

France's father was considered the architect of NASCAR but the younger man built it into the influential body in auto racing that it is. Bill France Jr., was the head of NASCAR from 1972 until 2003.

On its Web site, NASCAR said France "was a trailblazer in the field of corporate sponsorships and the guiding force behind a television contract worth billions of dollars."

His work in the sport earned him spots in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and the Automotive Hall of Fame.

France is survived by his wife, Betty Jane, their son Brian, who is the third generation of Frances' to lead NASCAR, and daughter Lesa Kennedy, president of the family-run International Speedway Corp.