New book to chronicle “life and times” of NASCAR founder “Big Bill” France Sr.


Even though he passed away more than 20 years ago, NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. will always remain the sport’s “Big Bill.”

William Henry Getty France, who would have turned 105 on Friday, will soon return to the spotlight in a new biography, “Big Bill: The Life and Times of NASCAR Founder Bill France Sr.”

The book, written by longtime NASCAR public relations staffer H.A. Branham, will be released in February by Random House, according to Godwin Kelly, veteran motorsports writer for the Daytona Beach (Fla.) Journal.

“He created the foundation for the sport,” Branham, who recently became International Speedway Corp.’s archivist, told Kelly. “It’s an unbelievable story.”

Branham’s tome traces France’s youth, his relocation (along with his wife and Bill France Jr.) from his native Washington, D.C., to Daytona Beach.

It continues through NASCAR’s founding in 1948, construction of Daytona International Speedway and its opening in 1959 with the first Daytona 500, and extends to how the senior France’s impact upon the sport is still felt today, 22 years after his passing in 1992.

“I think Bill France Sr. would be amazed at what the sport’s become today,” Branham said. “He was all about moving the sport forward and it’s definitely moved forward in the years since his passing.”

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