NASCAR CEO and chairman Brian France was arrested on Sunday on charges of aggravated driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Brian France DWI arrest
NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France is taking an indefinite leave of absence from his post after an arrest on a DWI charge in the Hamptons on Sunday. (Image: Getty)

According to the Sag Harbor Village Police Department, located on Long Island in New York, France was arrested at 7:30 pm on Sunday, then held overnight before being arraigned on Monday morning at a local court. He was then released on his own recognizance.

France Leaving NASCAR Indefinitely

According to the release, police say that France ran a stop sign. After he was pulled over, it was determined that he was intoxicated. Police then found oxycodone pills on France, resulting in a misdemeanor drug possession charge.

France is the grandson of NASCAR founder William HG France, and has been in his current position since 2003.

We are aware of an incident that occurred last night and are in the process of gathering information, NASCAR said in a statement on Monday. We take this as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts.

NASCAR has a substance abuse policy that could result in a suspension for auto racing executive. He could also be subject to future drug testing or be required to complete a recovery program.

On Monday, France announced that he would be taking an indefinite leave of absence following the incident.

I apologize to our fans, our industry, and my family for the impact of my actions last night, France said in a statement. Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs.

France’s Leadership Questioned Before Arrest

France has been a frequent target of criticism from NASCAR fans, many of whom have questioned his leadership in the face of declining ratings and attendance for the sport. While he spearheaded many successful initiatives over the last 15 years, including improved television coverage and a commitment to driver safety, he has also been criticized for being unengaged and aloof, rarely speaking in public and absent at times when the sport needed a clear leader.

At times, even his public behavior has been questioned by observers. At last years NASCAR awards, France quickly handed the NASCAR Cup Series championship trophy to Martin Truex Jr., then walked off the stage without giving the champion so much as a handshake.

Given those issues, NASCAR might look to replace France either temporarily or permanently with someone who can serve as more of a public face for the organization.

On an interim basis, vice chairman and executive vice president Jim France Brian France’s uncle will take over in the role of chairman and CEO.

If the company wants to look for a leader from within, potential replacements for France could include NASCAR vice chairman Mike Helton, president Brent Dewar, or COO Steve Phelps.

The incident came less than a day after Chase Elliott won his first career race at Watkins Glen, a road track in upstate New York. France reportedly did not visit the track prior to his arrest.