NEWS & NOTES
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.