TOKYO (AP) _ NASCAR president Bill France Jr. was in a Japanese hospital Friday night after suffering a mild heart attack and undergoing an emergency angioplasty.

France, 64, complained of shortness of breath upon arriving in Tokyo late Friday afternoon for Sunday's NASCAR Suzuka Thunder exhibition race.

``We have spoken directly with Bill and he is cheerful, alert and resting comfortably,'' said Jim France, younger brother of the NASCAR president.

``Because of the nature of Bill's visit to Japan, he has been accompanied by a number of business associates, including one of NASCAR's team physicians. We are also very appreciative for the responsiveness and care of the Japanese medical community.''

France has no prior history of heart problems.

A year ago, during NASCAR's first trip to Japan, longtime series official and pace car driver Elmo Langley died as the result of a massive heart attack.