The Frontstretch: Top Ten Things You Might Not Know Bill France, Jr. Did For NASCAR by Jeff Meyer -- Tuesday June 5, 2007

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10. Unable to fence in the fabled ‘Beach Course’ in the 1950s, he used "Beware of Snakes" signs to help channel possible freeloaders towards the track gates, forcing them to buy a ticket to watch the race.

9. Helped construct Daytona International Speedway, going so far as to attempt to use a mule to pull trees from the swamp.

8. Spearheaded the creation of Daytona USA in the mid-1990s, a NASCAR museum unlike any other that serves as a historical shrine to the Daytona 500.

7. Put together a three-year series of exhibition races in Japan from 1996-98 as a sign of the sport’s burgeoning popularity.

6. Completed the negotiations started by his father that landed R.J. Reynolds as the title sponsor of the Cup series.

5. Shortened the schedule for Winston Cup from 48 to 31 races in 1972, making all races run on paved facilities a half mile or larger while eliminating dirt tracks altogether.

4. Reduced the 1974 Daytona 500 to the Daytona 450 in an effort to help alleviate the gas crisis in America.

3. Enticed CBS to televise the 1979 Daytona 500 ‘flag to flag,' starting a new era in stock car television coverage.

2. Threatened to give Cale Yarborough, Donnie and Bobby Allison a ‘bonus' for fighting on live television after that race. "Hell, man, I might just give 'em a bonus,” France said with a smile. “You can't buy publicity like that."

1. Left a legacy that will be hard for anyone to top.

Editor’s Note : For all the latest news and information concerning the death of Bill France, Jr. click here for all that Frontstretch has to offer on this tragic loss.

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M. B. Voelker
06/06/2007 06:50 AM
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I’ll bet that when he eliminated the dirt tracks fans moaned and whines that he was ruining Nascar just like they moan and whine about changes today.

Mike
06/06/2007 03:10 PM
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The fans who complained about going strictly to asphalt stuck with dirt track racing either at the local level or followed the pros.

ARCA still runs some races on dirt,remembers their roots, and doesn’t try to bury them unlike the PC leadership of NASCAR.

The big question now is what will happen since there is no longer a “restrictor plate” on Brian France to control him?

 

Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

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