DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The ‘First Lady Of NASCAR’ and Winston-Salem native Betty Jane France has passed away.
Her grandson, Ben Kennedy, a driver, tweeted “We all miss you Grandma. Thank you for being you. Still can’t believe it.”
France was the executive vice president and assistant treasurer of NASCAR, Inc. She was also the chairperson of the NASCAR Foundation.
The Triad native met her husband William France in Winston-Salem. The two later moved to Florida.
France is the mother of NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France and International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy.
“Last night, the NASCAR family lost a mother, a grandmother, a friend and the light that guided the sport’s charitable arm,” said Brian France. “My mother taught us incredible values, that of love, patience, compassion and joy. She embraced life every day, and nothing fueled her passion more than children. Her unmatched efforts in building The NASCAR Foundation improved the lives of millions of children throughout this country. And because of that, her legacy will live forever.
“My father leaned on my mother throughout his life, relying on her wisdom and calming demeanor to help grow the sport of NASCAR. She was there, every step of the way. When we lost my father, her positive presence remained, as she used her immense skill to grow NASCAR’s heart and soul, The NASCAR Foundation.
“Our family thanks you for all of your thoughts, prayers and well wishes. My mother was a special woman, and an impressive person, and she will be dearly missed.”
Richard Petty and the Petty Family released a statement this morning.
“They say behind every strong man is a very strong women,” said Richard Petty, Co-Owner, Richard Petty Motorsports. “In this case, Betty Jane stood just as tall as Bill Jr. She did just as much as anyone to build the sport and help it grow. The Petty family sends our thoughts to Brian, Lesa and the entire France family at this time.”