The France Family, along with Jim France, will be honored on June 28 by the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) with the 2018 Cameron R. Argetsinger Award for Outstanding Contributions to Motorsports.
The 2018 award will be the fifth presented by the IMRRC. Chip Ganassi was the inaugural recipient in 2014. Richard Petty and Roger Penske were honorees in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Mario Andretti was cited in 2017.
One needs to look only at the France Family tree to understand the family's position at the pinnacle of American motorsports. From NASCAR founder William H.G. "Big Bill" France to his sons William C. France and James C. France to third-generation leaders Brian Z. France and Lesa France Kennedy, the family's expertise is obvious.
James C. "Jim" France is now the patriarch, continuing the legacy of leadership, as chairman for both the International Speedway Corporation (ISC) and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA). In addition, he serves as a vice chairman of NASCAR.
Brian France is NASCAR's chairman and CEO, having followed his father in those roles starting in 2003. Lesa France Kennedy is the CEO of ISC and Vice Chairperson of NASCAR. And Lesa's son, Ben Kennedy, has recently joined the family business as the new general manager of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Previously, he was a successful racer himself, competing in both trucks and the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
All four have added to the legacy of "Big Bill" France, who founded NASCAR in 1948 and Daytona International Speedway in 1959.
Jim France and family will receive the Argetsinger Award at a gala dinner presented by Sahlen's, NASCAR, ISC, Watkins Glen International (WGI) and IMSA. The dinner, which is open to the public, will be at the internationally renowned Corning Museum of Glass in nearby Corning, N.Y.
The dinner precedes the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen IMSA weekend at WGI.
Sahlen's, familiar to race fans in the Northeast, is a family-owned producer of quality meat products since 1869 in Buffalo, N.Y.
"We at Sahlen's are proud to support the IMRRC and this year's dinner honoring Jim France and the France Family," said Joe Sahlen, company president. "The France Family is known for its influence in elevating the image of motorsports around the world. They are very deserving of the Cameron R. Argetsinger Award."
WGI President Michael Printup added, "The France Family and Jim France in particular have a longstanding connection to Watkins Glen International. We are proud of that connection. Our facility's success and legacy will forever be linked to what we consider the 'first family of motorsports' in the United States."
"Our family is honored to be recognized by the IMRRC and we are especially pleased that the efforts of Jim France will be highlighted," said ISC CEO – and Jim France's niece – Lesa France Kennedy. "Jim has always been integral to ISC's success, providing leadership and counsel to so many of us through the years. He is a wonderful man…and mentor."
"It is most appropriate that on a night when the France Family will be honored, that Jim France would be the main focus," said NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France of his uncle. "Jim learned the business of motorsports from his father, Bill France Sr., then worked alongside my father, Bill France Jr., for years, helping to guide NASCAR through a tremendous period of growth. Jim was my dad's best, most experienced confidant and supporter – and he has continued to be mine, as well."
"Jim France, and the France Family, have played unmatched roles in the development of many forms of motorsport, but especially IMSA since its beginning in 1969," IMSA President Scott Atherton said. "Their tireless efforts and willingness to invest through the years have made IMSA what it is today. As we head into our 50th anniversary in 2019 we look forward to their continued leadership and contributions to the sport."
Other supporters of the dinner include Corning Inc., Michelin, Bosch, Chip Ganassi Racing, Hilliard Corp., Ray Evernham Enterprises and Glenora Wine Cellars.
The award memorializes Cameron R. Argetsinger, founder and organizer of the first races at Watkins Glen 70 years ago.
"The IMRRC has gained international recognition for our efforts to preserve and share the history of all things motorsports since our founding 20 years ago," IMRRC Executive Director Tom Weidemann said. "The France family's tireless commitment to the founding and evolution of the sport touches many sections of our collection. We are proud to honor them with the award."
The Cameron R. Argetsinger Award Dinner is open to the public, but tickets are limited. The ticket price is $250 per person. Tables of 10 are available as well.
Tickets may be purchased online at 2018 CRA Tickets or by calling the Racing Research Center at (607) 535-9044.
Complete details about the event, including information about sponsorship opportunities, can be viewed at 2018 CRA Dinner Details. For further information about sponsorship opportunities, contact Judy Stropus at email@example.com.
The Racing Research Center is an archival and research library and a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to the preservation and sharing of the materials of motorsports, all series and all venues, worldwide. The Argetsinger Award was established to honor a person in the motorsports industry who is recognized universally for having advanced and improved the sport. The honoree brings prestige to motorsports and demonstrates commitment to the future of racing.