NASCAR chief on leave after drugs arrest

NASCAR chairman and CEO Brian France is taking an indefinite leave of absence following his arrest in New York's Hamptons on charges of driving while intoxicated and criminal possession of oxycodone.

France had a blood-alcohol content that was more than twice the legal limit, smelled of booze and slurred his words after he was seen blowing through a stop sign in Sag Harbour on Sunday, police said.

"I apologise to our fans, our industry and my family for the impact of my actions last night," France said in a statement on Monday. "Effective immediately, I will be taking an indefinite leave of absence from my position to focus on my personal affairs."

France has been NASCAR's chairman and CEO since 2003. His uncle, Jim France, a vice-chairman and executive vice-president, will take over those roles on an interim basis.

France, 56, appeared at Sag Harbour Village Justice Court after spending the night in jail. He was released on his own recognisance and is due back in court on Sept 14.

His lawyer referred reporters to a NASCAR statement on the matter. The organisation said it takes France's arrest "as a serious matter and will issue a statement after we have all of the facts."

France, 56, was pulled over and arrested at about 7.30 pm Sunday (Monday AEST) after police said they saw his 2017 Lexus roll through a stop sign near the Sag Harbour waterfront.

His eyes were red and glassy and he struggled to keep his balance during field sobriety tests, police said. Tests showed France's blood-alcohol content was 0.18, police said. The legal limit in New York is 0.08.

Officers found five oxycodone pills during a subsequent search, police said.

France is a third-generation leader of NASCAR. His late grandfather, Bill France Sr., founded the company in 1948.

He's introduced a playoff system, overhauled the design of its cars, and pushed for diversity within the circuit's predominantly white, male ranks.