France

Brian France: Car of Tomorrow was biggest mistake thus far during his tenure

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For those who say NASCAR doesn’t admit its mistakes, chairman/CEO Brian France begs to differ.

When asked what has been the biggest mistake he’s made to date in his 12-year tenure, France was rather upfront in a speech Friday in front of a number of high school and college students at the Detroit Economic Club in Dearborn, Mich.

The answer is three of the most controversial words in NASCAR history: Car of Tomorrow.

“We are going to make mistakes,” France said, according to the Detroit Free Press. “Occasionally, we make a big one now and again.

“I would say that if there is one thing we could have done better in the last 10 years under my watch, is when we launched what we called ‘the new car.’ It is now called the Gen-5. We just didn’t get the collaboration we needed to get from the industry, the owners, the drivers, the engineers and car manufacturers.

“They had a voice, but they didn’t have a loud enough voice, and so we changed that.”

The COT was introduced in 2007 and remained NASCAR’s main vehicle design in the Sprint Cup Series for six years.

But from the disappointment of the COT came the acclaimed successor, the modern day Generation 6 car that was introduced in 2013.

France replaced his father, the late Bill France Jr., in 2003. During the younger France’s tenure as the sanctioning body’s leader, NASCAR has undergone a number of major changes, not just the COT but also introduction of the Chase for the Sprint Cup and its subsequent major revision in 2014.

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New book chronicles life and times of NASCAR founder ‘Big Bill’ France Sr.

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More than 20 years after his death, the legacy and legend behind NASCAR founder “Big Bill” France Sr. continues to intrigue racing fans.

For fans who love to read about NASCAR lore and history, H.A. “Herb” Branham has a new book, “Big Bill: The Life and Times of NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr.”

A longtime member of NASCAR’s public relations staff, Branham recently assumed a new role as the head of the International Speedway Corp.’s Archives and Research Center, located across the street from Daytona International Speedway.

It was the perfect treasure trove from which Branham drew upon for much of his new tome.

MORE: Take a trip through NASCAR history with the ISC Archives and Research Center

Branham’s 357-page authorized biography tells an intimate tale of how the patriarch of the France clan moved his family to Daytona Beach, Fla., during the height of the Great Depression.

It chronicles how France ultimately came to establish NASCAR as well as his ambitious plans to build Daytona and its larger sister track, Talladega Superspeedway.

There also are sad elements of France’s life, including the rarely told story about how he watched his older brother, James, drown at 13 (a tragedy that Bill never got over).

The hardcover book is available at bookstores and on Amazon.com.

This is Branham’s second book about the France family. “Bill France Jr.: The Man Who Made NASCAR” was released in 2010.

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