Woody: France Drug Problems A Sign of Times
Larry Woody | Senior Writer
I’m sure a lot of NASCAR-haters are grinning and gloating over the arrest of J.C. France on drug charges after a traffic stop in Daytona Beach.
I doubt that there’s a family anywhere that hasn’t been touched by the poison of drugs, and just because someone doesn’t care for NASCAR is no reason to find glee over yet another family’s pain.
The only reason why last Thursday’s drug arrest made news outside of Daytona is because of the name: J.C. France is the son of Jim France, a NASCAR board member, the grandson of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., and the cousin of NASCAR Chairman Brian France.
Also charged was J.C. France’s half-brother, Russell Van Richmond.
Somebody named “Richmond” getting busted wouldn’t create a blip on the national news cycle. But somebody named “France” sends shock waves through the sport.
I know some will claim there’s some sort of weird karma at work. For months NASCAR has actively been prosecuting – some say persecuting – former driver/team owner Jeremy Mayfield on suspicion of drug use.
Brian France has been quoted repeatedly about the dangers of drug use and the need for zero-tolerance – and now his own cousin is busted.
Cynics will say that the chickens have come home to roost – in the France family’s backyard.
That’s a silly premise. Brian France is simply doing his job by policing the sport and trying to make sure that no impaired drivers get near a racetrack. I’ve questioned aspects of the investigation but I’ve never thought the campaign against Mayfield was some sort of personal vendetta.
Its absurd to hold Brian France accountable for the behavior of his cousin. The same goes for J.C.’s father. Trust me – as a fellow dad – Jim France can’t prevent his grown son from going out and doing something stupid.
It’s reported that Richmond tried to throw the family name around in an effort to intimidate the cops. That was stupid and arrogant – a desperate ploy by someone who was scared stiff.
But again, the family can’t be blamed. If Brian or Jim France had made threats against the police in an attempt to get special treatment, that would be a different matter. But there’s nothing to indicate that that happened.
To try to somehow taint NASCAR’s ruling family with J.C. France’s drug charges is absurd. Is it embarrassing for the family? Certainly. Is it hurtful and painful? No doubt.
But if you take away the famous name, what went down in Daytona the other night is –unfortunately – commonplace throughout the country.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments