Nothing is better at propagating a rumor like a nasty social disease than the internet, and the France family just got a lesson. A report surfaced in Europe that an investment firm based there was investigating the potential purchase of NASCAR. Brian France, chairman of NASCAR, dismissed the report as speculation. According to France, the death of his father, Bill France Jr. most likely kicked off the baseless chatter. The current scoop is that the France family is not stepping down from the top of NASCAR or International Speedway Corporation, another France enterprise. While rising energy prices have taken a bite out of profits, and will likely affect attendance attendance somewhat, France assures that NASCAR will be "just fine."

A couple of other items help fuel the speculation, too. International Speedway endured a couple of abortive efforts in Washington state and New York to add new tracks to its holdings, but the long term plan is indeed for new venues when the right ones present themselves. Television ratings are also down, but that doesn't affect NASCAR so much as whacking the price that can be charged for ad space during television coverage of NASCAR events. So, while it might have been fun to kick the ball around thinking of NASCAR without the Frances – not this time.

[Source: Auto News - Sub Req Photo: NASCAR.com]