Ex-NASCAR chief France Jr. resting at home

3/20/2007 - NASCAR

Former NASCAR Chairman Bill France Jr. was released from the hospital Sunday afternoon and is resting at home, still under the care of his personal physician, NASCAR spokesman Jim Hunter said Tuesday.

France was admitted to Halifax Hospital in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 14 and diagnosed with a virus.

France, 73, has struggled breathing recently as a side effect of extensive radiation and chemotherapy treatments for cancer since 2000. He has been relying on a motorized scooter to get around.

"My health hasn't been too good," France said during media day before the Daytona 500 in February. "It's a good thing I [turned the sport over to others]. I have a hard time going to events. I'm sucking air all the time."

France turned the presidency of NASCAR over to Mike Helton in 2000 shortly after being diagnosed with cancer. He passed his duty as NASCAR chairman to his son, Brian, in 2003.

He kept his position as chairman of the board of International Speedway Corporation and vice chairman of NASCAR, but moved into a smaller office at NASCAR headquarters.

France said in February he'd cut back to two or three days a week in the office, jokingly adding, "Nobody listens to my ideas anymore."

France replaced his father, William Henry Getty France, as chairman of NASCAR in 1972. He was instrumental in making stock car racing the most popular motorsport in the country and expanding its reach beyond its Southern roots.

France suffered a mild heart attack in 1997 while in Japan for an exhibition race. He was diagnosed with cancer two years later, but never revealed what type.

Marty Smith covers Nextel Cup racing for ESPN.com.