Ex-NASCAR chair France Jr. hospitalized
Mar 14, 2007 at 10:33 AM
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Former NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. was hospitalized Wednesday night at Halifax Medical Center, where he was under the care of his personal physicians.
His condition was not known, and NASCAR officials confirmed only that the 73-year-old France had been admitted.
France took control of NASCAR in 1972. He replaced his father, William Henry Getty France, who founded NASCAR in 1947. But it was France Jr. who helped move stock-car racing beyond its Southern roots into the colorful, multimillion-dollar conglomerate it is today.
He's been in declining health for much of the past decade. France suffered a mild heart attack in 1997 while in Japan for a NASCAR exhibition race, and was diagnosed with cancer in 1999. He has never revealed what type of cancer he had.
Although his cancer was in remission, he handed off day-to-day duties of running NASCAR to his son, Brian, in late 2003.
France Jr. took the role of vice chairman, and still reported to the office daily, but moved into a smaller office at headquarters. He's scaled back public appearances in recent months, but was toasted at a "Hot Dog Roast" last month during the build-up to the Daytona 500. France Jr. did not speak at the event, but received salutations at his seat on the banquet floor.