NEWS & NOTES

Cecil Whig - - INSIDEBASEBALL -

FRANCE FAM­ILY MA­TRI­ARCH PASSES News broke Mon­day of the pass­ing of Betty Jane France, the widow of former NASCAR chair­man Bill France Jr. and mother of cur­rent NASCAR chair­man Brian France. Betty Jane France, 78, was a na­tive of Win­ston-Salem, N.C., and served as ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and as­sis­tant trea­surer of NASCAR, as well as the chair­woman emer­i­tus of the NASCAR Foun­da­tion. “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.” CHANGE AT MIS A Tues­day news re­lease from Michi­gan In­ter­na­tional Speed­way de­liv­ered some sur­pris­ing news just two days af­ter the Pure Michi­gan 400: Track pres­i­dent Roger Cur­tis left his po­si­tion im­me­di­ately to “pur­sue new op­por­tu­ni­ties.” Cur­tis be­gan his role at the Brook­lyn, Mich., fa­cil­ity in 2006 and over­saw an im­mensely chal­leng­ing pe­riod as the 2008 re­ces­sion wal­loped the Michi­gan area and gen­eral in­ter­est in NASCAR de­clined. At­ten­dance fell sharply at the speed­way, and many grand­stands were re­moved. Both Sprint Cup races this sea­son ap­peared to fill about half of the re­main­ing grand­stands that to­tal an es­ti­mated 71,000 seats. Cur­tis ex­panded the speed­way’s of­fer­ings in re­sponse, bring­ing a stand­alone coun­try mu­sic festival to the prop­erty as well as ex­panded con­cert of­fer­ings dur­ing race week­ends. Cur­tis was not quoted in the press re­lease and tweeted from his speed­way-af­fil­i­ated Twit­ter ac­count as re­cently as Tues­day morn­ing. Joie Chit­wood, COO of In­ter­na­tional Speed­way Cor­po­ra­tion (par­ent of MIS), thanked Cur­tis for his ser­vice. Chit­wood will over­see MIS op­er­a­tions in the in­terim.

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