KANSAS CITY, Kan. (June 4, 2007) – Taking NASCAR from a regional sport and building it into a national one brought William “Bill” C. France to the public eye. Today, that same sport mourns the death of France.
France, Chairman of the Board for International Speedway Corporation (ISC), the parent company of Kansas Speedway, passed away today at his home in Daytona Beach, Fla. at the age of 74. France was known throughout the sport for ruling with an iron fist and not being afraid to voice his opinion. In 2001, he was named “International Entrepreneur of the Year” by the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC).
“We are deeply saddened to learn of today’s passing of Bill France,” said Jeff Boerger, Kansas Speedway President. “Mr. France and Lesa Kennedy had the vision to expand NASCAR to the Midwest and build Kansas Speedway, which has is one of the top tracks on the NASCAR circuit. This has been an extremely difficult year for the NASCAR family which has also lost Benny Parsons and Bobby Hamilton.
The staff at Kansas Speedway and I join the rest of NASCAR nation in mourning Mr. France’s passing.”
“My father will be sorely missed, not only by our family, but by all the lives he touched over his many years in the sport,” said ISC President Lesa France Kennedy. “From drivers to owners to other track operators and professionals in the racing world, Bill France served as a champion for motorsports and his legacy is the renowned success that NASCAR and ISC have, and will continue to achieve.”
France is survived by his wife Betty Jane France; his son Brian; daughter Lesa; his brother James C. France, vice chairman and CEO of ISC; and three grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements are pending.