The White Zone: It’s time to remove Brian France from the reigns of NASCAR

We’ve had six weeks of positive energy from great racing and a truly momentous victory by possibly the most popular driver in NASCAR today. And what is the big story nearly 24 hours removed? It’s the arrest of the sport’s leader for drunk driving.

If you’ve not heard by now, NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France was arrested last night in Sag Harbor, New York for driving while intoxicated and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.

By no means is a DWI/controlled substance arrest a conviction (legally speaking). With that said, however, you can’t allow the head of the sport to behave in such a manner. Especially considering he was cited for “Aggravated DWI,” which in New York means you supposedly had a blood alcohol content (BAC) level more than double the level at which you’re considered legally intoxicated.
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What isn’t up for debate, however, is that France’s decision to drive intoxicated just two hours after Chase Elliott scored his first career victory in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen International not only stalls the optimism and positive momentum that been built up over the last six weeks, but puts the sports back in the spotlight for the wrong reasons yet again. Outlets that don’t regularly talk about NASCAR are picking up this story, rather than Elliott’s momentous victory from yesterday.

And it’s even reached the shores of England.

This was one of many missteps by France over the years, from his short-sighted decision to publicly endorse Donald Trump for president to the way he handled the Confederate Flag dilemma after the racially-charged mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina in June of 2015. The missteps also extend to his time as Chairman and CEO of NASCAR, most notably his atrocious handling of the series of run-ins between Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano in October of 2015.

Furthermore, and no matter how hard he or any executive in the big office in Daytona spin or dance around it, NASCAR’s biggest — and ongoing — decline in TV ratings, viewership and attendance have happened under France’s leadership.

These many embarrassing moments and poor leadership demonstrate why France is unfit to continue on as Chairman and CEO of NASCAR.

NASCAR is bigger than any single person, especially the people who run the operations. No amount of relation to the founder and his successor should excuse the fact that Brian acted in a manner unbecoming of the head of a company, particularly an automotive-centric company.

If this isn’t grounds for termination, what is?

That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

SEE ALSO: Elliott Scores Much Anticipated First Cup Win at Glen

SEE ALSO: Chase is winless no more

SEE ALSO: Brian France arrested for DWI and possession of controlled substance

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My name is Tucker White. I'm currently majoring in journalism at the University of Tennessee. I started getting into NASCAR around 1998 and started following the sport full-time in 2001. I live and breathe everything related to NASCAR. I also have a burning passion for all things auto racing. I've been following Formula 1 since 2011 and am slowing getting into IndyCar. I do my best to keep up with the World Endurance Championship. But at the end of the day, NASCAR is my primary beat. Being both a native of Knoxville, Tennessee and a student at UT, I'm naturally a die-hard Tennessee Volunteers fan. Especially when it comes to Tennessee Volunteers football. While I'll never stop being one, it can be the most heart-wrenching thing ever. Since 2005, this team has delivered more than its fair share of heartbreaking moments and inhuman frustration. I've stuck with the Vols from the best of times - 1998 National Champions - to the worst of times - 2005 to present - because I know that it'll make it all so worth it when the mighty Vols finally return to the top of the college football landscape. In the last few years, I started to really get into baseball. This past season, I decided to pledge my sporting allegiance to the Atlanta Braves. It didn't turn out too well as they finished 67-95 and finished fourth in the NL East. I do see great potential with the young roster and they might be a force to be reckoned with in the coming years.


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