DAYTONA BEACH – J.C. France, grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., has been reinstated by Grand-Am Road Racing to compete in Rolex Series road-racing events after a five-month suspension following his arrest last year.
Grand-Am vice president of communications Kevin Hinson confirmed that France, son of NASCAR vice chairman Jim France, was issued a competitor’s license earlier this week after prosecutors earlier this month decided not to prosecute him.
France, 44, was arrested along with half brother Russell Van Richmond, 41, Oct. 8 by Daytona Beach police on charges of DUI and narcotics possession. The two men were pulled over after an officer saw them racing, then another officer saw France roll through a red light.
According to a police, France and Van Richmond were racing over the Seabreeze Bridge and Daytona Beach police stopped them. When police found both men, who were in separate cars and stopped in different places, they found cocaine on them, according to reports.
But evidence was thrown out of the case against France and the DUI and drug possession charges were not pursued. Van Richmond is serving six months’ probation for DUI, records show.
All the evidence that Daytona Beach police piled up against France was thrown out because of a jurisdictional technicality.
In an order earlier this month, Circuit Judge Patrick Kennedy said that France’s traffic infraction occurred within the city of Holly Hill and the officer who followed France made an “unlawful stop” of the vehicle because the officer was outside of his jurisdiction.
Citing case law, the judge said that as a “general principle,” police officers from one jurisdiction have no “official power” to arrest an offender outside the boundaries of their municipality."
France had to follow a rehabilitation program and vigorous drug testing set forth by Grand-Am, headquartered in Daytona Beach and owned by NASCAR.
“He addressed the legal issues that were outstanding, based on the fact those issues were resolved, and successfully completing the program administered by Dr. David Black, we made a decision to reinstate him,” Hinson said today.
“He was extremely cooperative,” Hinson said. “He did everything we asked him to do. We didn’t have any pushback and that meant a lot to us as far as him getting reinstated.”
Black is forensic toxicologist who owns Aegis Sciences, based in Knoxville, Tenn. Black has consulted NASCAR, World Wrestling Entertainment, Major League Baseball and other organizations in the area of substance abuse.
France won’t compete in this weekend’s Rolex Series event at Virginia International Raceway. He’s not expected to attend Saturday’s Bosch Engineering 250.
“Being out of the car was tough, not just for that race but since then, too,” France said. “Sometimes it takes losing something to understand its importance. I was getting a little ragged and needed a good kick in the butt; I got it.”
France drove for Brumos Racing last season. Hinson said he does not know if France has a Daytona Prototype ride in the works.
Hinson said Grand-Am has no formal substance abuse policy, such as NASCAR’s, and does not expect the sanctioning body to implement one in the near future.
“There has been no change to our policy from last year,” Hinson said. “Substance abuse comes under our ‘conduct unbecoming of a competitor’ rules. There’s no separate policy. We feel our rule book covers the areas we monitor and impose our rules.”