SCR: Do you see similarities between Brian and his father, Bill Jr., when he took over for Big Bill.
JOHNSON: "Yeah, I see a lot.
"I'm one of the few people that spoke out and did not think Bill Jr. could follow his father's footsteps--but he did, and he did a better job than his dad did. And I hope that follows through with Brian.
"The sport needs that, and he needs to try to step up and do better than his dad did. It's a popular sport. It's gone farther and farther ahead from where his did has taken it, and he took it from his dad and did the same thing with it.
"If Brian can do the same thing his father has done, it will be the No. 1 sport in the world."
SCR: How well did the France family foster fair competition and the growth of the sport?
JOHNSON: "I think they [did] very well.
Now in the country ham business, Johnson cooks some of his product--alongwith his homemade
"They have not only run the sport, they have promoted and gotten involved in making sure the sport went to the top and stayed there, basically by investing back into the sport their own money.
"They just didn't take the money out and run with it. They put it back into the sport and the race tracks and all the things it took to promote and build the sport bigger and bigger and bigger.
"They also gained a lot of income from what they invested back in it. Most people would have looked at it like, 'Well, if you"re gonna make this much money, why do you want to put the money back into the sport?'
"They felt Bill Jr. probably knew in his mind where he was going to take it to and how far he could take it, or he would not have gone out and built race tracks after his daddy quit. The two superspeedways that his dad had put together were Daytona and Tallagdega, and he ran that for a while.
"Now he's taken over, and he's bought Michigan, Rockingham, California and built two more race tracks.
"They have taken their earnings and put it back into the sport to where it has made it a bigger sport, a higher-level sport, from down to the ground to now it's up in the air about as high at it can go.
"When you look at it from that standpoint, they were the ones who promoted the sport more than anybody else has."