NASCAR's Bill France, Jr. laid to rest

June 7, 2007 at 3:31 PM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., June 7 (UPI) -- NASCAR visionary Bill France, Jr. Thursday was eulogized at the Mary McLeod Bethune Performing Arts Center in Daytona Beach, Fla.

A funeral followed the service.

France, the long-time CEO and chairman of NASCAR, died Monday at the age of 74. He was diagnosed with cancer in 1999, had been in poor health for several years, but never revealed the nature of the disease.

His son, Brian, replaced him in 2003.

"Bill France Jr. was an institution in sports and an inspiration to all who live and love stock-car racing," said David Levy, president of Turner Sports, one of NASCAR's broadcast partners. "Throughout Turner's 22-year relationship with NASCAR, Bill remained an emphatic visionary, astute business partner and dedicated colleague and friend. We will miss him for his contributions both on and off the track."

"He meant everything to it and to me," said NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon. "He was a voice and personality that took this sport to another level."

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