Automotive & Aftermarket News / News & Car Culture

“First Lady of NASCAR” Betty Jane France Passes Away

636081489103542372-XXX-20091204-APS-USA-166

(Photo: Chris Trotman, Getty Images for NASCAR)

Betty Jane France, widow of former NASCAR chairman Bill France Jr., and mother of current NASCAR chairman Brian France and vice chairwoman Lesa France Kennedy, has passed away.

“She played a significant role in NASCAR’s history, leading the charge to elevate the experience of our sport for the fans who love it, and her philanthropic efforts will forever remain a part of our sport,” France Kennedy said in a statement.

Up until her death on Monday, Betty Jane France served as NASCAR executive vice president and chairwoman of the NASCAR Foundation, a charitable foundation she established in 2006. Through this foundation, she helped launch a children’s “Speediatrics” unit at two Florida hospitals. She served on the boards of various Dayton Beach-area community service organizations, and her name is on the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award presented annually by NASCAR.

Perhaps best known for her philanthropic efforts, she is also credited for her role in growing the sport of NASCAR.

“My father leaned on my mother throughout his life, relying on her wisdom and calming demeanor to help grow the sport of NASCAR,” Brian France said in a statement. “She was there, every step of the way. When we lost my father, her positive presence remained, as she used her immense skill to grow NASCAR’s heart and soul, The NASCAR Foundation.”

NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Richard Petty was quick to acknowledge Betty Jane France’s influence on the sport.

“They say behind every strong man is a very strong woman,” Petty told  ABC News. “In this case, Betty Jane stood just as tall as Bill Jr. She did just as much as anyone to build the sport and help it grow. The Petty family sends our thoughts to Brian, Lesa and the entire France family at this time.”

For more on the death of Betty Jane France, read this ABC News report.

Tags: , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.