February 22, 2013 |
AFTER DANICA Patrick won the pole for Sunday's Daytona 500, we could imagine Brian France and Mike Helton pounding their desks and shouting, "Yes! Yes!" In recent years, attendance at NASCAR tracks has slipped and television ratings have declined. Also, the purportedly safer, more efficient Car of Tomorrow produced dull racing. Now, France, NASCAR's chief executive officer, and Helton, the sanctioning body's president, have reasons to be excited about the new season. Having Patrick, the first woman to earn a pole position in a Sprint Cup race, as the fastest Daytona 500 qualifier surely will attract casual fans who are curious to see how she does in the race.
June 5, 2007 |
He was one of the most powerful people in sports. Team owners in NASCAR half-kiddingly said that Bill France Jr. ran a "benevolent dictatorship. " If you wanted to race in NASCAR, you did business France's way, or hit the highway. Inheriting the leadership of NASCAR from his equally influential father of the same same in 1972, Bill France Jr. shaped the stock car-racing organization from a regional Southern sport into a billion-dollar industry. Bill Jr. died yesterday at age 74 at his Daytona Beach, Fla., home.
June 9, 2006 |
In its quest to convert new fans and initiate more deep-pocketed corporations into its circle of sponsorship, NASCAR has strategically branched out from its birthplace in Daytona Beach, Fla., in recent years. The stock-car racing sanctioning body now has offices in seven cities across the country, and is considering putting down roots in Mexico and Canada as well. While the NASCAR folks in the Charlotte, N.C., area handle everything from licensing to research and development, the Los Angeles staff pursues deals in the entertainment industry.
June 6, 2004 |
Surrounded by a sea of outstretched microphones, Mike Helton leaned back in his upholstered chair, appearing cool and comfortable while conducting an informal press gathering. Looking past an inquisitor, the NASCAR president could see a pack of brightly colored stock cars heading straight for him - thundering down the 1,076-foot backstretch at over 160 m.p.h. From his perch 29 feet above the track, the unblinking Helton smiled and called it a "unique" experience as the muffled roars of the Ford, Chevy and Dodge engines rumbled beneath his feet.
August 30, 2002 |
NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr. was recovering yesterday from bypass surgery that doctors recommended after he fell and broke his hip earlier this week. France, 69, was headed to dinner with a friend Tuesday evening when he fell and broke his right hip, NASCAR said in a statement. While being treated for the injury at a Daytona Beach, Fla., hospital, doctors recommended bypass surgery, which he had on Wednesday. "I have spoken to my brother and he is alert and in good spirits," said James France, president of International Speedway Corporation.
December 8, 2000 |
In many professional sports, grumbling often follows the selection of a new commissioner or president. Dissenters ask, "Why him? My choice was better. " If the appointee is a surprise selection, others screech, "Who's he?" Mike Helton provoked no such harsh reactions when he was promoted to president of NASCAR last month. Helton succeeds Bill France Jr., who is battling cancer. France, 67, remains board chairman. Since last year, Helton, 45, had been NASCAR's senior vice president and chief operating officer.
November 29, 2000 |
For the first time, NASCAR has a president whose last name is not France. Mike Helton, 47, who has served as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the sanctioning body for the past two years, was named president yesterday by Bill France Jr. France, 67, had been president since 1972, when he assumed the role from his father, William H.G. France, who had been president since the organization was formed in 1948. France Jr. is recovering from cancer and has had other health problems.
July 27, 2000 |
There's big business, small business, show business and monkey business. With NASCAR, all of the above apply, except small business. Monkey business involves the ways crews traditionally try to bend the rules. Anyone leaving a race weekend at a place like Pocono Raceway is struck again by the jackpot. With crawling exit traffic, fans have plenty of time to think about NASCAR. More than 100,000 attended last Sunday's Pennsylvania 500 Winston Cup race. The mind boggles at how much money is taken in by hotels, restaurants and in souvenir sales.
July 21, 2000 |
Two of stock-car racing's most prominent figures, Mike Helton and Dale Earnhardt Jr., made a pit stop in town yesterday. And it wasn't a simple splash-and-go en route to Pocono Raceway for Sunday's Pennsylvania 500. Helton, NASCAR's chief operating officer, addressed more than 250 movers and shakers during a Philadelphia Business Journal breakfast at Hotel Sofitel in Center City. The discussion touched on a number of financial issues, including NASCAR's soaring revenues through merchandising and a new television deal that should boost the sport's growth overseas.
October 5, 1999 |
Gentlemen, start your uppercuts. Perhaps overlooked in Jeff Gordon's dramatic victory Sunday in Martinsville, Va., was Tony Stewart's temper tantrum. Stewart and Kenny Irwin renewed their open-wheel rivalry with some major league bumping. After Stewart's car was tapped by Irwin and spun out on lap 147 of the NAPA AutoCare 500, an angry Stewart climbed out of his Pontiac and waited for Irwin to drive by under the caution flag. Drivers often stand on the track, waiting for the rival they believe has mistreated them.