Bill France, Jr., the man responsible for for much of NASCAR’s evolution and success, died this afternoon after a long battle with cancer.
Carpenter Newton reporting for Digital Journal –– FOX Sports announcer Mike Joy somberly announced on today’s rain-delayed broadcast of the NASCAR Dover race that Bill France, Jr., the former head of NASCAR, died this afternoon at the age of 74 from cancer.
France, nicknamed by some in the sport as “Little Bill,” took over the sanctioning body of NASCAR in 1972 after his father retired.
During France’s tenure as head of NASCAR, he took the sport from regional to national exposure, securing major series sponsorship through RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company and multiple television contracts.
Before his retirement, France brokered a record-setting $2.4 billion television broadcasting deal with FOX, NBC and TNT.
France had been in poor health for many years, prompting him to retire in 2000. In 2003, he handed control of NASCAR to his son, Brian. France remained active in the sport up until his death.
Flags at Dover International Speedway were lowered to half-mast as the race continued.