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Forbes names Lesa France Kennedy ‘most influential female in sports’


International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy, named by Forbes magazine on Wednesday as “the most influential woman in the business of sports.”

Jared C. Tilton

Forbes magazine on Wednesday named International Speedway Corporation CEO Lesa France Kennedy as “the most influential female in the business of sports.”

France Kennedy is the granddaughter of NASCAR founder Bill France Sr., the daughter of Bill France Jr., and sister of NASCAR chairman Brian France. France Kennedy also serves on the NASCAR board of directors. France Kennedy’s son, Ben Kennedy, is a driver currently in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

As the chief executive officer of ISC, France Kennedy, 54, oversees a company that owns 13 different race tracks, with over 1,000 employees with an estimated $700 million in annual revenues, according to Forbes.

“As we celebrate the 2015 NASCAR season, it’s an honor to be recognized by Forbes alongside so many other women in sports,” France Kennedy said in a statement. “I’m very proud of what we’re doing at International Speedway Corporation and NASCAR.

“Exciting changes are ahead throughout our industry, more fans than ever are consuming our sport, and we’re all eager to unveil a re-imagined Daytona International Speedway in 2016.”

France Kennedy leads Forbes’ list of “The 25 Most Powerful Women In Sports.” Second on the list is Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association.

According to Forbes, Roberts, 59, “is the first woman to head a major professional sports union in North America, and joins NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith as the highest-ranking African-American executive in sports.”

Third on the list is ESPN Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Christine Driessen.

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