By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
LAS VEGAS — For a person belonging to one of the most powerful families in sports, it would have been easy to accept the status quo and turn a blind eye to those in need. However, Betty Jane France just couldn’t sit by and watch people suffer. France spent her entire life trying to make the world a better place for children. That dedication to making the world, and the sport of auto racing, a better place to be led to France being posthumously named the 2016 Myers Brothers Award winner Thursday at the NMPA Myers Brothers Luncheon in Las Vegas.
France passed away on August 29th, but she left a legacy that will definitely live on forever.
She was the driving force behind NASCAR’s charitable endeavor — the NASCAR Foundation. The foundation was setup to improve the lives of children in need. In addition to being the architect of the foundation, France also served in numerous chair positions on the board over the years.
In 2011, the Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award, presented by Nationwide was born. Over the past half-decade, race fans who have exhibited incredible strength by way of charitable donations and volunteer work. Each year the winner of the award has been celebrated when the NASCAR Premier Series enter Champions Week in Vegas.
The Myers Brothers Award was designed to give recognition to those who do great things off the race track, which make the sport a better place. Without a doubt France meets that criteria, and she is a fitting winner to join previous award winners such as Tony Stewart, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Hendrick and Bill France Jr.
Many other awards were dished out Thursday in Vegas — 18 to be exact.
Here is a full run down of who won what award:
NMPA Myers Brothers Award: Betty Jane France
Buddy Shuman Award: Jack Roush
NASCAR Marketing Achievement Award: Comcast XFINITY
Chevrolet Crossed Flags Award: Tony Stewart
American Ethanol Restart Award: Kevin Harvick
Coors Light Pole Award: Carl Edwards
Duralast “Brake in the Race” Award: Kyle Busch
Goodyear NASCAR Series Champion Award: Jimmie Johnson
Ingersol Rand Power Move Award: Dave Rogers, Joe Gibbs Racing No. 19 Crew Chief
MAHLE Clevite Engine Builder of the Year Award: Scott Vester / Hendrick Engines No. 4 Team
Mechanix Wear Most Valuable Pit Crew: Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Team
Mobil 1 Driver of the Year: Kyle Busch
MOOG Steering and Suspension Problem Solver of the Year Award: Alan Gustafson, Hendrick Motorsports No. 24 Crew Chief
Sherwin Williams Fastest Lap Award: Kyle Busch
Sunoco Diamond Performance Award: Jimmie Johnson
Champion’s Sponsor Award: Lowe’s
Champion Crew Chief Award: Chad Knaus
Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award Presented by Nationwide: Andy Hoffman