DAYTONA BEACH: NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France has taken an indefinite leave of absence, NASCAR announced on Monday, after he was reportedly arrested on Sunday night and charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
NASCAR vice chairman and executive vice president Jim France, Brian’s uncle, will serve as interim chairman and CEO.
TMZ, the first to report news of the arrest, stated Brian France was pulled over at 7.30pm local time after running through a stop sign in Sag Harbor, New York. According to the Associated Press, tests showed France’s blood alcohol content was 0.18, more than double New York’s 0.08 limit. He also failed a field sobriety test.
ESPN’s Bob Pockrass, citing a news release from the Sag Harbor Village Police Department, reported that France was held overnight, arraigned at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court on Monday morning, and released on his own recognizance.
“Mr France was observed operating a 2017 Lexus northbound on Main Street failing to stop at a duly posted stop sign,” ESPN quoted the news release as saying. “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.”
The AP said he had five oxycodone pills.
NASCAR issued an earlier statement on Monday, before it announced France’s leave of absence.
“We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information,” it read. “We take this as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts.”
France, 56, has been chairman and CEO of the family-run league since 2003. His grandfather, William H. G. France, founded NASCAR and his father, Bill France Jr, was in charge of the league before the youngest France took over.
Jim France, 73, is the younger brother of Bill France, Jr, and has worked for the company throughout his life.