What happened: According to a report by the Reuters wire service, the France family is exploring a sale of NASCAR. Reuters said investment bank Goldman Sachs is working with NASCAR to find a potential buyer. NASCAR declined comment when I asked about this story and I have not been able to confirm it independently — but Reuters is a highly respected outlet and there’s no reason to believe this is a false report.
What it means: This is the first development in what could ultimately become one of the most important stories in NASCAR history. That the founding France family is even considering selling the sport and cashing out is a massive development that could have significant repercussions. And if the sale actually happens? NASCAR as we know it is likely to change forever, perhaps undergoing a transformation that could be similar to Formula One’s makeover. F1 was sold two years ago for $4.4 billion to Liberty Media.
News value (scale of 1-10): Like an earthquake too large to be accurately measured by a seismograph, this one is off the charts. Depending on what happens and who buys it and what their intentions are, this could turn out to be the biggest NASCAR story ever.
Three questions: With the potential of a sale now becoming public, what kind of immediate impact could this have on the sport? What entity has both the interest and billion dollars (at least) it would take to purchase and run the most popular form of racing in America? Would a new owner be able to save NASCAR from its decade-long slump, or would such a change only accelerate the decline?