Make no doubt about it, NASCAR is a business and is run like any other major corporation. It’s a family-owned business with Brian France as the third-generation CEO. Brian France is the son of Bill France, Jr., who passed away at the age of 74 in June of 2007.
The current President of NASCAR is Mike Helton. What is interesting about Mike Helton’s appointment as President in the organization structure is that he is not a member of the France family. He was named as President of the organization in 1999. That was a year that would see much change in terms of safety because of the sudden death of Dale Earnhardt on the last lap of the 2001 Daytona 500 and it was because of this incident that it would begin to head numerous initiatives for the safety of drivers and fans.
The very nature of a family-controlled organization means that the family will control most of the proceeds. This has been a criticism by some who think that it should be a joint owner-player type of profit sharing model. Other critics have made assertions that the organization could do more for driver safety. And there have been accusations that they are monopolistic in its policies. But millions enjoy the sport promoted by this business and advertisers love the exposure they get. Plus, the championship prizes seem to be attractive to many drivers.
NASCAR is not publicly-traded on the stock exchange however its major sanctioning body is International Speedway Corporation which is publicly traded on the NASDAQ under stock symbol ISCA. ISC owns as well as operates 11 motor speedways plus is a major promoter of motor sports. Bill France’s sister Lesa France Kennedy and his uncle Jim France is the Vice Chairman of the Board and Chairman of the Board/CEO respectively. Although not an organizational structure per se, it’s structure is built around three main events which could be thought of as three main lines of business: 1) The Nextel Cup Series, 2) The Busch Series, and 3) The Craftsman Truck Series.
And a fundamental part of the organization’s structure is the promoters. Promoter sponsorship has drawn some criticism from the fan base because more and more it seems that it’s more about commercials than it is about racing. However, in order for it to stay alive as an organization it needs the sponsors. Ticket sales alone will probably not bring in the revenue needed to stay healthy in business. The Nextel Cup Series is the most prestigious of them all. This series starts with the Daytona 500 at the beginning and consists of 36 races in 19 states and on 22 different tracks.
The second premier event in the series is the Craftsman Truck Series. This event started in 1996 and was previously known as the SuperTruck Series. Its roots come from a display of a Racing-style pickup truck at the 1994 Daytona 500. And the last premier event in the series is the Busch Series which is considered to be like the minor leagues of NASCAR.