William H.G. France

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Report: Brian France pleads not guilty

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Brian France, on indefinite leave from his role as NASCAR Chairman and CEO, pleaded not guilty to charges Friday in Sag Harbor (N.Y.) Village Court, according to TMZ.

France was arrested Aug. 5 for aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal  possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree.

Sag Habor Police stated that France was observed operating a 2017 Lexus when he failed to stop at a posted stop sign. Newsday, citing court documents, reported that France registered a blood-alcohol level of .18 percent and that he was in possession of five yellow pills later determined to be oxycodone.

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicle website lists the penalties for alcohol and drug-related violations. It states that aggravated driving while intoxicated is where an individual has a Blood Alcohol Content of .18 or higher. In New York, a person is considered driving while intoxicated if they have a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher or exhibit other evidence of intoxication.

France’s next scheduled court date is Oct. 5, according to TMZ.

Sag Harbor Village is on Long Island, New York, and located about 100 miles east of New York City.

NASCAR Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Jim France has assumed the role of interim chairman and chief executive officer in place of Brian France.

Jim France, 73, is the son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France. He was vice chairman/executive vice president of NASCAR and is chairman of the board at International Speedway Corp. Jim France founded Grand-Am Road Racing in 1999 and played a role in the merger of that series and the American Le Mans Series in 2012 into what is now known as the International Motor Sports Association.

NASCAR community offers best for Brian France; confident in Jim France

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Competitors and colleagues remained confident in NASCAR’s ability to move beyond Brian France’s arrest and wished the best for the grandson of the sport’s founder Tuesday.

NASCAR announced Monday that France would take a leave of absence from his role as Chairman and CEO after he was arrested Sunday night by Sag Harbor (New York) Police. France was cited for aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree after he failed to stop at a stop sign. He was cited for possession of oxycodone pills.

France spent Sunday night in jail. He had a court appearance Monday morning and was released on his own recognizance.

Jim France, NASCAR vice chairman and executive vice president, has assumed the role of interim Chairman and CEO, NASCAR stated.

“Obviously it’s disappointing news, no way around that,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said on his podcast, the Dale Jr. Download, on Tuesday. “It’s very disappointing. I’m sure that Brian is disappointed in himself.

“The one thing that I hope is that Brian gets in front of the people that he needs to get in front of and gets the assistance and help that he needs to make sure this is something that doesn’t happen again. Regardless of his role in NASCAR going forward, it’s important that he’s healthy and that he takes care of himself. So, I’m wishing that on him.

“With that said, I’m very confident in the people that NASCAR has in the industry. I know all of them very, very well. I feel incredibly optimistic about being able to move forward and beyond (Monday).”

Kevin Harvick also offered his best wishes to Brian France.

“From a personal standpoint, you obviously want to see somebody be well and have their health and do the things that it takes to be healthy in life,” Harvick said on his SiriusXM NASCAR Radio show on Tuesday.

Harvick admitted he hasn’t had much contact with Jim France in the past, but appreciates his racing background.

“It’s good to have a racer,” Harvick said. “That’s the most important thing. It’s not like he’s hands off. He knows the ins and outs of what’s going on to this very minute in the sport, has been around the sport for a long time. That’s what you need is that racing perspective of just making sure we stick with the roots of what made NASCAR racing what it is, and he’s been around it and know how that went.

“I think from the drivers’ perspective, it’s really important whoever is in that position to become more connected. I think that’s the most important thing right now is this sport needs to be connected in a lot of different directions, but they need to all come together and go in the same direction instead of having so many different ideas.”

Denny Hamlin, attending Washington Redskins training camp, told reporters Tuesday: “Lesa (France Kennedy) and Jim are going to do a great job. I’m confident in the leadership of NASCAR. I know all of the executives really, really well. I get invited into some very intense meetings with them at times, and am very confident that those guys can take the reins and do a great job.”

Jim France, son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France, also is Chairman of the Board of International Speedway Corp. Lesa France Kennedy is ISC’s CEO. 

Watkins Glen winner Chase Elliott said on a teleconference Tuesday that he knows Jim France.

“I haven’t ever had any issues with Jim,” Elliott said. “I expect them to do fine, and it doesn’t change my job, so I’m going to do my thing.”

Bruton Smith, executive chairman of Speedway Motorsports Inc., told The Associated Press that the sport will continue to go forward.

“Our sport is big, big, big and it’s bigger than just one person,” Smith said. “We go forward. We have to in this sport. At this point in time, NASCAR needs friends and people that will help. It’s a great sport and we go forward and we all should be very protective of it and be willing to lend a helping hand.”

NASCAR Chairman Brian France arrested, takes leave of absence

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NASCAR Chairman Brian France is taking a leave of absence after he was arrested by the Sag Harbor Village (New York) police at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday night for aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the 7th degree, the police stated in a release.

NASCAR issued a statement at 5 p.m. ET Monday announcing an interim leadership change: “Brian France has taken an indefinite leave of absence from NASCAR as chairman and chief executive officer. Effective immediately, NASCAR Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Jim France has assumed the role of interim chairman and chief executive officer.”

Jim France, 73, is the son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France. He was vice chairman/executive vice president of NASCAR and is chairman of the board at International Speedway Corp. Jim France founded Grand-Am Road Racing in 1999 and played a role in the merger of that series and the American Le Mans Series in 2012 into what is now known as the International Motor Sports Association.

Police stated that Brian France, 56, was observed operating a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street and failed to stop at a posted stop sign. Upon the traffic stop, according to the release, police determined that France was operating the vehicle in an intoxicated condition. Police stated that a search revealed that France was in possession of oxycodone pills. Newsday, citing charging documents, reported that France had five yellow pills that were later determined to be oxycodone.

France, the grandson of NASCAR founder William H.G. France, was arrested and held overnight for arraignment Monday morning. He was arraigned in Harbor Village Justice Court and released on his own recognizance.

Said Brian France in a statement: “I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night. Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs.”

The New York State Department of Motor Vehicle website lists the penalties for alcohol and drug-related violations. It states that aggravated driving while intoxicated is where an individual has a Blood Alcohol Content of .18 or higher. In New York, a person is considered driving while intoxicated if they have a Blood Alcohol Content of .08 or higher or exhibit other evidence of intoxication.

The mandatory fine for aggravated driving while intoxicated is $1,000 – $2,500. The maximum jail term is one year. The mandatory driver license action is to revoke it for at least one year.

New York law defines criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree when a person knowingly and unlawfully possesses a controlled substance. It is a Class A misdemeanor.

A misdemeanor in New York is defined as an offense other than a traffic infraction in which a sentence in excess of 15 days but not greater than one year may be imposed. Upon conviction of a Class A misdemeanor, a court may sentence an individual to a maximum of one year in jail or three years probation. In addition, a fine of up to $1,000 or twice the amount of the individual’s gain from the crime may be imposed.

Sag Harbor Village is on Long Island, New York, and is located about 100 miles east of New York City.

France also had a previously reported driving incident in Daytona in 2006.

France became NASCAR’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer in September 2003, taking leadership from his father Bill France Jr.

Under NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy, France could face disciplinary action. The policy states that “all NASCAR members are responsible for whatever goes into their body.”

TMZ.com first reported France’s arrest.

Nate Ryan and Daniel McFadin contributed to this story