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Bill France, Sr.
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Sports Executive
    (September 26, 1909-June 7, 1992)
    Born in Washington, District of Columbia
    Founding member of NASCAR
    First chair and CEO of NASCAR (1948-72)
    Opened the Daytona Speedway (1959) and Talladega Speedway (1969)
    He would cut school to secretly race laps in the family's Model T. ('My dad never could figure out why his tires were wearing out so quickly.')
    He would use the catch-all rule against 'actions detrimental to stock car racing' to justify authoritarian decisions, such as depriving Lee Petty of a championship as punishment for racing in an unsanctioned 'outlaw' event (1950).
    He punished drivers who tried to organize NASCAR racers into a union.
    He was a campaign director when George Wallace ran for the Democratic nomination for President (1972).
    He had personal experience with winning races only to get stiffed because the promoter had run off with the prize money.
    The New York Times called him 'as close to being a racing institution as any man can be.'
    His former service station in Daytona Beach is preserved as an entertainment center.
    He was a member of the inaugural classes of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame (1990) and the NASCAR Hall of Fame (2010).

Credit: C. Fishel

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