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WIESBADEN, Germany — Bill France, president of the prestigious NASCAR organization, flew into Germany Tuesday to help promote the coming "stock car" race in Hockenheim, Germany ... and to take in Sunday's Italian Grand Prix while he's at it.

One might describe him as an ambassador of good-will for auto racing, and he stressed at a press conference here that his role in NASCAR (National Assn. for Stock Car Auto Racing) is to improve international relationships on the world's circuits.

"We already have a great deal of interest in stock car racing in Germany, Japan and Colombia," France said, "and we've devised a plan that will allow a greater exchange of drivers.

"The costs of shipping cars to these countries is far too expensive, but we now have a setup in NASCAR that will allow American drivers to race in foreign nations and still pick up championship points just as if they'd been racing in the States.

"For instance," France said, "Tiny Lund will be driving an Opel at Hockenheim on Sept. 13, and he will get NASCAR points for his finish and they will apply to his 1970 record.

"In turn, we welcome top competitors from Germany or other nations to race on the NASCAR circuits. We would have a car ready for each nation's driver."

"It's a new approach," he said, "and I see no reason why it shouldn't work out."

France, a big man whose big ideas have paid off by bringing tremendous popularity to stock car racing in the U.S., has been a pioneer in the field and he says much of the success of stock car racing has been "owner identification."

"If a German driver wins a race in a BMW 'stock car,' the BMW owner thinks of his car as a winner. The same thing happens when Richard Petty wins in a Plymouth. It's natural."

Big time stock car racing in the States is still the lowest cost racing for the participant, France said, and that, too. has allowed many drivers to make the grade when the cost of formula car competition would have been simply out of reach.

France, a resident of Daytona Beach, Fla., founder of NASCAR and father of the Daytona Speedway of 500 fame, said that Tiny Lund should do very well at Hockenheim as he's not just an oval track specialist.

"He's raced in Japan where he did very well, he's done stock car races at Riverside on the road course there, so Hockenheim will present no problems.

And 1 understand the Wiesbaden Auto Club has a good car for him, too, so I think you'll see him right up there."

Lund, racing on NASCAR circuits for 15 years, is a past winner of the Daytona 500, one of stock car racing's richest plums. Hockenheim, indeed, should present no obstacles.

Meanwhile, Emil Brezing, vice president of NASCAR-Germany and an official for the Sept. 13 Hockenheim race, announced Tuesday that 31 cars are entered for the Wiesbaden club's "stock car" event.

France has been billed as the starter of the Indy-type pace lap, and when advised of this he was quite surprised.

"No, I didn't know it." France laughed, "but I'll be happy to start the race. In fact. I'll be happy to help the German club in any way I can and do anything Brezing says. After all, that's the main reason I'm over here."


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