The Real NASCAR Family

NASCAR CEO Says Confederate Flag Is Not A Proper Symbol For His Sport.

The phrase 'NASCAR family' usually refers to the millions of fans obsessed with the fastest-growing sport in America but the real NASCAR family, its 'first family,' is the France family of Daytona Beach, Fla. For six decades they have literally owned the sport, and made themselves into billionaires in the process.

No matter who you are or where you live in America, the France family is determined to bring NASCAR to a racetrack near you and to turn you into a fan.

Correspondent Lesley Stahl reports.



NASCAR is stock car racing, which means the cars are supposed to resemble family sedans. But in fact, they're custom-made rocket ships.

Like the NFL, NASCAR is a league, but with 43 teams – cars and drivers - all battling every weekend for prize money and TV ratings.

NASCAR is also one of the biggest businesses in the country still owned and run by the family that founded it.

Third generation Brian France is the CEO and he says that annual revenues for the industry are currently "north of $3 billion" and going up. "We're trying to make sure it goes up. Expand NASCAR, expand our fan base."

Most of that money comes from America's largest companies. A NASCAR race is a constant blur of corporate logos, hawking everything from beer, booze, soldiers and sex.

And the drivers look like the cars, donning sponsor logos on their race suits, including DuPont, Chevrolet, Dominos and Coca Cola.

And Brian France is unabashed in the hucksterism category. Asked if there is any company he would turn down, France says NASCAR does have limits. "Well, I mean things that are, would be distasteful."

NASCAR's own brand is on everything from lottery tickets, to broccoli, to cell phones that let fans read drivers' instrument panels, and use their voices for ring tones.

Thirty-eight weekends a year, 100,000 fans or so pay an average of $80 a ticket to watch the ads fly round and round.

Why do so many big companies want their logos on the cars? "They get to own something. They're on the playing field. Their brand is part of the event," says France.

In an age where so many TV viewers 'zap' commercials, that is a huge concept. For NASCAR, the race is the commercial.

They'll even rename a race for a sponsor: Warner Brothers got the "Batman Begins 400" this summer.

NASCAR doesn't own racecars, but it helps the private individuals who do to find sponsors willing to pay the $10 to $20 million a year it costs to race a car.

Richard Petty, one of the most successful drivers in NASCAR history, is now the owner of the 'Cheerios Dodge.'

  • Daniel Schorn

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