ISC and NASCAR merge with the latter now the sole entity moving forward in Daytona

Photos and video for Headline Surfer / Shown above are NASCAR Jim France, chairman & CEO of NASCAR; Lesa France Kennedy as executive vice chair; and Steve Phelps as president, under the newly-former leadership of the stock car racing entity that absorbed the former publicly-traded International Speedway Corpooration. 

By HENRY FREDERICK
Headline Surfer

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR has successfully closed its acquisition of International Speedway Corporation, merging its operations into one, new company moving forward.

The new company will remain based in Daytona Beach and will continue as NASCAR. As part of this process, ISC has been delisted from NASDAQ.  

In leading the new, combined company, Jim France will serve as the chairman and chief executive officer, with Lesa France Kennedy as Executive Vice Chair. Steve Phelps has been appointed president and will oversee all operations of the merged entity. 

"The merger of NASCAR and ISC represents a historic moment for our sport," Jim France said in a prepared statement emailed to Headline Surfer and other media outlets that cover the sport.

"There is much work ahead of us, but we’re pleased with the progress made to position our sport for success. Delivering for our race fans and partners is job number one and we look forward to doing that better than ever for years to come," France added. 

"The merger of NASCAR and ISC represents a historic moment for our sport," Jim France said, in a prepared statement emailed to Headline Surfer and other media outlets that cover the sport.

"There is much work ahead of us, but we’re pleased with the progress made to position our sport for success. Delivering for our race fans and partners is job number one and we look forward to doing that better than ever for years to come." 

NASCAR is the entity that sanctions stock car and truck races. that role will not change. ISC was the company that owned the 13 tracks, including Daytona International Speedway, which opened in 1959, where the sanctioned races are run. Now NASCAR handles both duties.

To take ISC private, the France family on Nov. 9 offered to buy back outstanding shares of ISC stock that they did’t already own. The Wall Street Journal estimated the buyback at $1.85 billion. 

Forbes magazine has published stories estimating the France Family's net worth at $5 billion. 

The prior dual relationship had outgrown its purpose, considering the constraints of ISC as a publicly-traded company listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Plus NASCAR and the now-former ISC were headquartered in the same building -- the International Motorsports Center across from Daytona International Speedway.

Jim France, son of the late Big Bill France, took over the reigns of NASCAR last year on an interim basis when nephew Brian France took an indefinite leave of absence from the company following a DUI arrest in August 2018, in Bar Harbor, N.Y.

The interim tag for Jim France has since been removed. 

Jim France's niece, Lisa France Kennedy, the older sister of Brian France, had served as CEO of ISC and as a member of NASCAR’s board. She retains the latter along with her new title of executive vice chair of NASCAR.

The merger, officially announced Oct. 18, represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences and whose aim is to develop strategic growth initiatives that will hopefully drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans.

Jim France has acknowledged in recent media interviews that NASCAR has languished in recent years with declining attendance and a drop in TV audience ratings. The merger allows the Frances to make financial adjustments to keep the racing relevant without having to answer to shareholders as was thew case with the former ISC. 

"This sport has meant so much to our family and we are committed to leading NASCAR through this next chapter of growth," Lisa France Kennedy added. "Combining the two companies will allow us to capture the best aspects of both operations. Our stronger organization will allow us to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities to grow the sport over the next decade plus." 

The merger, officially announced Oct. 18, represents an important step forward for NASCAR as the sport creates a unified vision to embrace its long history of exciting, family-oriented racing experiences and whose aim is to develop strategic growth initiatives that will hopefully drive the passion of core fans and attract the next generation of race fans.

Jim France has acknowledged in recent media interviews that NASCAR has languished in recent years with declining attendance and a drop in TV audience ratings  The merger allows the Frances to make financial adjustments to keep the racing relevant without having to answer to shareholders as was thew case with the former ISC. 

"This sport has meant so much to our family and we are committed to leading NASCAR through this next chapter of growth," Lisa France Kennedy added. "Combining the two companies will allow us to capture the best aspects of both operations. Our stronger organization will allow us to take advantage of the tremendous opportunities to grow the sport over the next decade plus." 

As part of the new organization, the board of directors will consist of France, France Kennedy, Mike Helton and Gary Crotty, as the chief legal officer.

Phelps’ direct reports will represent executives with deep industry experience, including Ed Bennett, executive vice president & chief administrative officer; Jill Gregory, executive vice president & chief marketing and content officer; Craig Neeb, executive vice president & chief innovation officer; Steve O’Donnell, executive vice president & chief racing development officer; and Daryl Wolfe, executive vice president & chief operations and sales officer.

Helton and John Saunders will serve as senior advisors under the new leadership structure.  

"With great racing across all of our series, an exciting 2020 schedule on tap, and the Next Gen race car in development, we are better positioned than ever before to lead the sport into a new era of growth," Phelps said of the re-tooled racing entity.

Phelps continued: "We have a strong, experienced leadership team in place with incredibly dedicated employees at every level throughout our organization. Our best days are ahead of us and our new organization is going to allow us to better deliver great racing to our fans everywhere." 

Advising NASCAR on this transaction were Goldman, Sachs & Co. LLC as exclusive financial advisor and Baker Botts L.L.P. as legal counsel. Dean Bradley Osborne Partners LLC served as financial advisor and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz as legal counsel to the ISC special committee. Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP served as legal counsel to ISC and BDT & Company served as financial advisors to the France family. 

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Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com since 2008. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed close to a hundred award-winning byline stories nearly evenly split in print and digital platforms. Frederick earned his Master of Arts in New Media Journalism with academic honors from Full Sail University in Winter Park in February 2019. He was a metro reporter with the Daytona Beach News-Journal for nearly a decade and then served as a city editor for the Taunton Daily Gazette in Taunton, Mass, while maintaining a residence in Central Florida. Prior to moving to Florida, Frederick was a metro reporter for the Rockland Journal-News in West Nyack, NY, for seven years. Headline Surfer was named the Sunshine State's top internet news site by the Florida Press Club in 2018.