Former NASCAR president, chairman and CEO William Clifton France — known to most people as Bill France Jr. — is remembered and revered as the man who followed his visionary father at the helm of NASCAR. Over the course of his storied career, France became the type of bold leader necessary to guide NASCAR to become the monster sports business it is today. For his leadership, France will be recognized on May 23 with his induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
Bill Jr. grew up during the formative years of stock car racing, living and learning every detail of the sport from his own experiences and those of his father, NASCAR founder William Henry Getty France, who was known as Bill Sr. or “Big Bill.” In the new biography Bill France Jr.: The Man Who Made NASCAR, author H.A. Branham examines his extraordinary life, including:
- France’s role in NASCAR’s early years prior to taking over his father’s position
- His ascension to the presidency of NASCAR
- NASCAR’s explosion in popularity during his time at the helm
- His courageous battle with cancer throughout the last decade of his life.
- His final role as vice chairman and main adviser to his son, Chairman/CEO Brian France
Bill France Jr. combined pragmatism with optimism, an approach that resulted in a calculated and adventurous road to success for NASCAR. He is remembered as being a colorful character and a tough-as-nails leader with a heart of gold who was known for being both endearing and intimidating.
“Keep moving or else you’ll get passed up.” was France’s philosophy, but it ran concurrent with the old axiom that you can’t really know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been. Bill France Jr.: The Man Who Made NASCAR will help to ensure that no one ever forgets the legacy of this legendary visionary who guided the sport to unprecedented levels of popularity.
About the author: H.A. Branham is NASCAR’s director of written communications and has been with the sanctioning body since 2001. Prior to that, he was an assistant sports editor at the Tampa (Florida) Tribune where he worked for 21 years. Branham has authored three previous books, including two NASCAR history works: The NASCAR Vault and The NASCAR Family Album. A 1979 graduate of the University of South Florida, Branham resides in Ormond Beach, Fla. He and his wife, Catherine, have four children.
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