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05/10 2018

NASCAR’s Founding Family Definitely Isn’t Acting Weird About Those Sale Rumors

BY:  Alanis King

Somewhere in their large, expensive homes, NASCAR’s founding family is nervously laughing, hoping no one notices the beads of sweat rolling down their faces as they dodge the question of whether their long-held stake in the sport is for sale. Nothing to see here, folks.  Move along.00

After reports came out that the people in charge of NASCAR since its founding 70 years ago, the France family, is in talks to potentially sell their stake in the sport, the AP obtained a memo meant “to calm employees” about it all. The memo was from NASCAR President Brent Dewar instead of an actual France, who said the France family “remains dedicated to the long term growth of [the] sport.” He also said there would be no comment on “industry rumors,” the AP reports.

Remaining “dedicated” to “growth” sounds all well and good and positive on the surface, but, fun fact: It is not an actual answer. If someone asks whether your car is for sale when it definitely is not, you don’t go, “I remain dedicated to the long-term growth of my car.” You tell them it’s not for sale.

But, hey, maybe the France family has a different way of communicating things than the rest of us do. Here’s more on the memo and the current climate around NASCAR CEO Brian France being at the track less and less, from the AP:

It’s long whispered that NASCAR could be on the selling block and Chairman Brian France has become dramatically less visible since the end of last season. Most public duties are now handled by Dewar, who addressed employees about a report a day earlier that Goldman Sachs had been retained to explore a potential sale for the France family. […]

The memo did not specifically address any possible deal by the France family.

“For over 70 years, the France family has worked hard to invest in the sport of NASCAR, including our recent acquisitions of ARCA,” Dewar wrote, referring to the recent purchase of the Automobile Racing Series of America, a lower-tier stock car series that sometimes races in conjunction with NASCAR events.

The original report came from Reuters on Monday, which said the France family was looking into options, including the sale of its stake, with investment bank Goldman Sachs. NASCAR did not have any additional comment on the report, and Goldman Sachs has yet to respond to Jalopnik’s request for comment on it.

The Frances have been in charge of NASCAR since Bill France Sr. founded it more than 70 years ago, with Bill France Jr. taking over after his father stepped down and Brian France, Bill France Jr.’s son, stepping in after him. Other family members are dispersed all over the executive ladders at both NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation, a company also founded by Bill France Sr. that owns a dozen tracks on its Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

That’s a lot of involvement to just pull away from, but NASCAR, the ultimate practice in nepotism (and in racing that is saying something), may soon be without its original family empire. Just don’t ask the family about all of that, because they won’t give you a straight answer.

You probably wouldn’t be able to track down Brian France to ask him in the first place, though. He’s apparently not around much.

Clarification: A state has been taken out of the first paragraph, as to not specify where the France family may live.