NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France is taking a leave of absence after his arrest Sunday night on charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated and misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance.
NASCAR announced Monday night that France’s uncle, Jim, would take over as interim chairman, filling a position Brian had held since 2003.
“I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night,” Brian France said in a statement. “Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs.”
Brian France has repeatedly refused to say whether he owns any piece of the sport, but public documents indicate that NASCAR is owned by Jim France and Lesa France Kennedy, Brian’s sister. Kennedy and Jim France serve as executive vice chairpersons of NASCAR.
Jim France, while always working behind the scenes on the stock-car business, is more known for his love of sports cars and overseeing that side of the France family racing empire. He is the son of NASCAR founder William H.G. France and brother of former NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., who is the father of Brian France and Lesa France Kennedy.
The change in NASCAR leadership was swift following the arrest of 56-year-old Brian France on Sunday by the Sag Harbor Village (New York) Police Department. According to a police department news release, France was arrested at 7:30 p.m. ET Sunday, held overnight and arraigned Monday morning at the Sag Harbor Village Justice Court, where he was released on his own recognizance. France has a home in the area. “Mr. France was observed operating a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street failing to stop at a duly posted stop sign,” the news release said. “Upon traffic stop, it was determined that Mr. France was operating said vehicle in an intoxicated condition. Upon search of his person, due to a lawful arrest, Mr. France was in possession of oxycodone pills.”
No police report was immediately available, but aggravated DWI indicates a blood-alcohol content level of more than 0.18 percent. The drug-possession charge is the lowest charge, a Class A misdemeanor.