CEOs

Bill France Net Worth, Age, Height, Bio, Birthday, Wiki

What was Bill France Jr.’s Net Worth?

Bill France Jr. was an American motorsports executive who had a net worth of $2 billion at the time of his death. Bill France served as the CEO of NASCAR from 1972 to 2000. He was the successor of his father, Bill Sr., and the predecessor of his son, Brian France. Bill France was inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010, three years after his passing. Bill died of lung cancer on June 4, 2007.

Early Life and Education

Bill France Jr. was born on April 4, 1933 in Washington, DC to Anne and Bill Sr. He has a brother named Jim. The boys’ father was a businessman and racing driver who founded NASCAR, a sanctioning body of US-based stock car racing, in 1948. During the Great Depression, the family moved to Daytona Beach, Florida. Due to his father’s work, France spent a lot of time on race tracks growing up, selling concessions and helping to park cars at the Daytona Beach Road Course. He also assisted in the construction of Daytona International Speedway. France was educated at Seabreeze High School and the University of Florida. He also served two years in the US Navy.

Racing Career

After leaving the Navy, France pursued a career in racing. Riding off-road motorcycles, he started competing in enduros in the 1960s. Early the next decade, France entered the motorcycle division of the Baja 1000, and competed in motocross at Daytona.

NASCAR CEO

Having served as the vice president of NASCAR for six years, France became the company’s new CEO when his father retired from the position in early 1972. He would go on to significantly expand NASCAR during his tenure, taking it from a Southern regional sport to a national one. One of the ways France did this was by bringing the sport to television. In 1979, he signed a deal with CBS Sports president Neal Pilson to televise the Daytona 500, which became the first live NASCAR race televised flag to flag. The race, which saw Richard Petty win after leaders Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison crashed on the final lap, earned high television ratings. The success of the telecast helped France land further television contracts over the years, including with ESPN, TNN, and TBS. Among his other achievements as CEO, he helped significantly foster the growth of the Daytona 500 stock car race and the Daytona 200 motorcycle race at Daytona International Speedway.

During his tenure as CEO, France also helped bring NASCAR abroad. In 1981, he made a deal with Australian tire retailer and retired racer Bob Jane to take stock car racing to Australia. This led to the construction of Calder Park Thunderdome in Melbourne, the first high-banked NASCAR-style speedway built outside of North America. The track opened in 1987, and early the following year held its first NASCAR race, the Goodyear NASCAR 500. However, in 1991, tensions between France and Jane caused NASCAR to withdraw its support for the track. France continued to have success with NASCAR back in the States, and in 1999 secured a record-setting $2.4 billion television contract for the 2001 season. He ultimately stepped down as CEO the year before that after he was diagnosed with cancer, and was succeeded by Mike Helton. France remained a member of the six-person NASCAR board of directors, and his family continued to own NASCAR.

Bill France Net Worth, Age, Height, Bio, Birthday, Wiki

Darrell Ingham/Getty Images

Sarah Ashley Secoy

In 1993, France was alerted to the story of six-year-old leukemia patient Sarah Ashley Secoy from Ohio. He vowed to make her struggle and search for a marrow donor into an international news story, which he ultimately accomplished. As part of his efforts, France helped fund and promote a duet recorded by Secoy and her father, which made it onto tens of thousands of radio stations around the world. Eventually, Secoy’s genetic match donor was found, and she survived.

Personal Life and Death

With his wife Betty Jane, France had a son named Brian and a daughter named Lesa. Brian became the CEO and chairman of NASCAR in 2003, and Lesa serves as the president of International Speedway Corporation, a race track operator in which the France family has a controlling interest.

On June 4, 2007, France passed away from lung cancer in Daytona Beach. He was 74 years of age. His death was reported during the live broadcast of the Autism Speaks 400 Cup on “NASCAR on Fox.” With the track’s flag lowered to half-staff, lead announcer Mike Joy held a moment of silence.

Halls of Fame

In his later years, France was inducted into a number of Halls of Fame for his executive career in motorsports. In 2004, he was inducted into three: the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, and the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America. France was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 2006. Finally, in 2010, he was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button