NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France announced Monday he was taking an indefinite leave of absence a day after his arrest in New York’s Hamptons on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone.
The Sag Harbor Police Department issued a release that said France was arrested at 7:30 p.m. local time, not long after Chase Elliott secured his first career win in the NASCAR Cup Series at Watkins Glen.
France had a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit, smelled of booze and slurred his words after he was seen blowing through a stop sign in Sag Harbor on Sunday, police said.
“I apologize to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night,” France said in a statement Monday. “Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs.”
France has been NASCAR’s chairman and CEO since 2003. His uncle, Jim France, a vice chairman and executive vice president, will take over those roles on an interim basis.
France, 56, was arraigned at Sag Harbor Village Justice Court after spending the night in jail. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court Sept 14.
His lawyer referred reporters to a NASCAR statement on the matter. The organization said 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 at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday after police said they saw his 2017 Lexus roll through a stop sign near the Sag Harbor waterfront.
His eyes were red and glassy and he struggled to keep his balance during field sobriety tests, police said. Tests showed France’s blood-alcohol content was 0.18, police said. The legal limit in New York is 0.08.
Officers found five oxycodone pills during a subsequent search, police said.
France is a third-generation leader of NASCAR. His late grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded the company in 1948.