Front and Center: ESPN.com motorsports writer Ed Hinton explains new multi-part series on NASCAR founders The France Family

Three generations of the France Family – (L-R) Bill France Jr., Bill France Sr. and Brian France (photo courtesy of NASCAR)

Three generations of the France Family – (L-R) Bill France Jr., Bill France Sr. and Brian France (NASCAR)

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Ed Hinton (ESPN)

Ed Hinton (Joe Faraoni/ESPN Images)

The France Family founded NASCAR in 1947 and has taken the sport from dusty short tracks to a mainstream, national sport seen by millions each year. Three generations of the family have been at the helm, starting with founder William H.G. France, then his son, Bill France Jr., and now his grandson, Brian France.

ESPN’s coverage of the final 17 races in the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season begins with the Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 28.

In a five-day series beginning today, ESPN.com will tell the story of the France Family as it has never been told before.

New interviews with members of the family and with some of the pioneers of the sport who were there during the early days and through the explosive growth, as well as current stars and leaders, help tell the story of a family that rose from humble beginnings to the position it holds today in American sports. NASCAR and the France Family cooperated with ESPN on the project.

In the Front & Center podcast above, ESPN.com senior motorsports writer Ed Hinton, who has covered NASCAR since the early 1970s, discusses his work on the France Family series, including the research he conducted, some things he learned and his favorite moments from the project.