Off to Le Mans! NASCAR’s Jim France is honored by European peers

Like the duck’s feet, Jim France once did much out of sight.

Depending on the day, he was either the ‘Motorcycle France’ or the ‘Sports Car France’ or simply the family member, we’ve always been told, whose working under the radar brought much insight and much-needed pragmatism to the boardroom.

By staying off the stage and not being associated – at least publicly – with things that to some were controversial or even crazy, Jim was also known as “France without enemies”.

Though he’s managed to maintain his status as a good neighbor, his semi-secret work came under the spotlight almost four years ago when, under difficult circumstances, he took on the role of chairman and CEO of NASCAR, the organization founded by his father. Bill Sr. and run by Big Bill and then Bill Jr. from 1948 to the early 2000s.

Jim France has made a career just outside the auto racing limelight, but in recent years he's seen more at the front and in the coming week he will be rewarded for his efforts in the sports car world.

Shortly after Jim took office in August 2018, he promoted Steve Phelps to President of NASCAR, a move that allowed Jim to gather some oxygen for his road racing endeavors, particularly for IMSA, NASCAR’s sports car division.

(By the way, he also oversees American Flat Track, the nationally scheduled dirt track motorcycle series. In his youth he was a flat track racer for several years.)

Its sports car endeavors accelerated sharply with the merger in 2014 of two major series – France’s Grand-Am (think Rolex 24) and Don Panoz’s American Le Mans Series – and the renamed IMSA (International Motor Sports Association).

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