NASCAR chairman Brian France has been charged in Sag Harbor, N.Y., with aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance.
France, 56, was arrested at 7:30 p.m. Sunday night, Sag Harbor police said in a press release. He was held overnight and arraigned at 9:30 a.m. Monday, where he was 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,” the news release says. “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.”
TMZ reported that tests showed that France had more than twice the legal amount of alcohol in his bloodstream.
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France became chairman and CEO of NASCAR in 2003, a position that makes him one of the most powerful figures in sports.
“We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information,” NASCAR said in a brief statement Monday. “We take this as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts.”
France and his wife Amy were photographed in their New York City penthouse in a 2016 profile in Haute Living magazine. The Hamptons, including the village of Sag Harbor, is a collection of communities on the eastern end of Long Island that have long been a weekend and summer refuge for New Yorkers. Real estate prices there are among the highest in the nation.
France is the grandson of Bill France Sr., who cofounded NASCAR in 1948, and followed his father, Bill France Jr., in running the family-owned business. But sagging TV ratings, dwindling attendance and the loss of some key sponsors have weighed on the business in recent years.
In April, NASCAR announced it would go to a “new business model” by forgoing a single sponsor for its top-level Cup Series beginning in the 2020 season. Reuters reported in May that the France family was in preliminary negotiations about the potential sale of their stake. Forbes reported in June that the family was seeking only minority investors.
ESPN has estimated that, including family-owned tracks, NASCAR is worth $3 billion to $5 billion.
Staff writer Brendan Marks contributed.