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Bill France, Jr.

Bill France, Jr.AKA William Clay France

Born: 4-Apr-1933
Birthplace: Washington, DC
Died: 4-Jun-2007
Location of death: Daytona Beach, FL
Cause of death: Cancer - unspecified
Remains: Buried, Daytona Memorial Park, Daytona Beach, FL

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Auto Racing
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: CEO of NASCAR, 1972-2003

Military service: US Navy (two years)

His father owned a gas station, drove in stock car races on weekends, and eventually managed the Daytona Beach Road Course. The elder France founded the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) in 1948, to enact sane racing rules, purchase insurance coverage, and guarantee that the purses would actually be paid. Bill France Jr grew up at his father's track, selling tickets and working at the course's concession stands. He worked with the construction crews that built the modern Daytona International Speedway, followed his father as President of NASCAR in 1972, and spent three decades as the sport's ultimate rule-maker, promoter, and salesman.

Under France's leadership, auto racing grew from a regional sport to a national circuit with races frequently broadcast coast to coast in prime time on Fox, ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, and The Speed Channel. NASCAR remains a privately held family business, so its value is difficult to access, but its latest TV contract was valued at $4.48-billion. The prestigious season-opening race is still held at the France family's Daytona Speedway, and the family also owns a controlling interest in International Speedway Corporation, which owns 13 race tracks hosting more than half of NASCAR's premier competition schedule.

France resigned from NASCAR's presidency in 2000, after being diagnosed with cancer. He remained as the organization's CEO and Chairman until handing those titles to his son, Brian France, in 2003, and spent his last few years in fading health. His last public appearance was in February 2007, at a lavish "hot dog dinner" held in his honor before the Daytona race. His death was announced during Fox's live broadcast of the Autism Speaks 400 from Dover International Speedway.

Father: William Henry Getty France (founder of NASCAR, b. 26-Sep-1909, d. 7-Jun-1992)
Mother: Anne Bledsoe France
Brother: Jim France (NASCAR Board of Directors)
Wife: Betty Jane Zachary France (Chair of NASCAR Foundation, m. 20-Sep-1957)
Son: Brian France (b. 2-Aug-1962, NASCAR Chairman and CEO)
Daughter: Lesa France Kennedy (President of International Speedway Corp.)

    High School: Seabreeze High School, Daytona Beach, FL (1951)
    University: University of Florida (dropped out)

    NASCAR CEO (1972-2003)
    NASCAR President (1972-2000)
    NASCAR VP (1966-72)
    Member of the Board of NASCAR (as Chairman, 2000-2003, as Director, 2003-07)
    Bush-Cheney '04
    Defend America PAC
    Elizabeth Dole Committee
    Friends of George Allen
    Friends of Giuliani Exploratory Committee
    JD Hayworth for Congress
    McCain for Senate '98
    National Republican Senatorial Committee
    Santorum 2006
    International Motorsports Hall of Fame 2004
    Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame 2007

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