Brian France Takes Leave Of Absence Following DUI, Drug Possession Charges

NASCAR drivers react to leadership change			Image by Getty Images for NASCAR

Nascar chairman and chief executive Brian France has taken a leave of absence after being arrested on Sunday for driving while under the influence of alcohol and criminal possession of a controlled substance. Effective immediately, NASCAR Vice Chairman and Executive Vice President Jim France has assumed the role of interim chairman and chief executive officer.

Police say he ran a stop sign on Sag Harbor at around 7:30 PM.

The cops who arrested NASCAR honcho Brian France found 5 oxycodone pills on him during the bust and used the website Drugs.com to identity them. this according to court docs obtained by TMZ Sports.

France, 56, spent the night in jail, was released Monday morning and announced his leave from NASCAR eight hours later. "Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs". He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in court September 14.

NASCAR was created by William H.G. France, a stock auto driver and gas station owner, in 1947 and has stayed in the France family's name.

His lawyer referred reporters to a NASCAR statement on the matter.

Police said he was in possession of oxycodone pills.

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"We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information", it read.

Police said at the time he was pulled over France struggled to keep his balance during field sobriety tests, his eyes were red and glassy, and tests showed his blood-alcohol content was almost twice New York's legal limit.

NASCAR doesn't comment on its ownership structure, but Jim France and his niece, Lesa France Kennedy (Brian's sister), are the co-owners of the sanctioning body, according to available public documents and sources.

France last month characterized as "rumors" reports that his family was looking into selling its racing properties.

"First of all, the France family has guided us for years, and I met with Jim France himself recently", Gibbs told ESPN. "Rumors are always interesting, but they're seldom right".

But a witness called 911 and gave police a statement that claimed she saw France driving at a "very reckless speed" and claimed France's auto hit the tree after hitting a parked vehicle.

At the time, France told the cops that he got momentarily distracted and "bumped" into the tree, but an eyewitness revealed that he was stumbling when he stepped out of the vehicle to assess the damage. She said she also watched as France "fell over his own feet" as he got out of his auto.

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