June 06, 2014

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Sports car racing's John Bishop, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association, has died. He was 87.

Bishop died Thursday in San Rafael, California, of complications from a recent illness, according to a release from the sports car sanctioning organization.

Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with wife Peggy and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr. after a surprise telephone ''cold call'' from France.

With France's financial assistance, Bishop, an experienced official with the Sports Car Club of America, and his wife built IMSA into a premier sports car organization that peaked in the 1980s and 1990s with the Camel-sponsored GT Series.

Bishop sold IMSA in 1989, in part due to health issues, but remained a vital part of sports car racing with a lengthy tenure as commissioner of Grand-AM.

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