SAG HARBOR, N.Y. (AP) – NASCAR mogul Brian France was arrested in New York’s Hamptons for driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone after he was seen blowing through a stop sign, police said.
France, the auto racing behemoth’s chairman and CEO since 2003, was arraigned Monday at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court after spending the night in jail. He was released on his own recognizance.
Information on a lawyer who could comment on France’s behalf was not immediately available, nor was information on his next court date.
NASCAR said in a statement that it takes France’s arrest “as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts.”
France, 56, was pulled over and arrested about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after police said they saw his 2017 Lexus roll through a stop sign near the Sag Harbor waterfront. Officers saw indications of intoxication and found the pills during a subsequent search, police said.
TMZ first reported the arrest.
France is a third-generation leader of NASCAR. His late grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded the company in 1948.
He’s introduced a playoff system, overhauled the design of its cars, and pushed for diversity within the circuit’s predominantly white, male ranks.
In recent years, he’s been dealing with plunging attendance and TV ratings and departing sponsors, attributing the down turn to the challenge of connecting with a new, younger generation of fans.
France last month characterized as “rumors” reports that his family was looking into selling its racing properties.
“The France family is locked and loaded in its dedication to NASCAR,” France told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “We’re focused on ruling and managing NASCAR. There’s nothing to report on that. Rumors are always interesting, but they’re seldom right.”
France was involved in a 2006 incident in Daytona Beach, Florida, when a police report stated he crashed his Lexus into a tree after entering a restaurant parking lot.
France later told an officer called to his home that he was drinking a soda and “bumped into something.”
But a witness called 911 and gave police a statement that claimed she saw France driving at a “very reckless speed,” and claimed France’s car hit the tree after hitting a parked car.
She said she also watched as France “fell over his own feet” as he got out of his car.
Her statement was not attached to the police report, and the Daytona Beach police chief later investigated whether France was given special treatment by authorities.