NASCAR Asks Fans to Stop Flying Confederate Battle Flag at Its Events

images-1By Elaine Magliaro

Viv Bernstein has an article in the New York Times that explains why NASCAR has requested that its fans put away their Confederate battle flags.

Bernstein:

Although Nascar has stopped short of an outright ban on the flag, officials at every racetrack that hosts an event in the top three national series, including the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series, issued a joint statement on Thursday asking fans to no longer display them at their tracks.1000px-Conf_Navy_Jack_(light_blue).svg

The NASCAR statement read, “As members of the Nascar industry, we join Nascar in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment. To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at our facilities and Nascar events.

“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for Nascar Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of Nascar racing.”

Bernstein reported that the joint statement came two days after Daytona’s International Speedway’s president Joie Chitwood III “offered to exchange any Confederate flag for an American flag at the annual Fourth of July weekend race.” She added that it also “followed statements by the top drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon, as well as by Nascar’s chairman, Brian France, that were critical of the flag.”

Before a race in Sonoma, California, last weekend, Earnhardt said, “I think it’s offensive to an entire race…It does nothing for anybody to be there flying, so I don’t see any reason. It belongs in the history books, and that’s about it.”

Bernstein said that effort to remove the Confederate battle flag comes as Nascar works toward building “a more diverse audience that will help expand the sport beyond its Southern fan base, with new fans offering the potential to attract more corporate sponsors.” She added that the flag’s presence at NASCAR “races makes that task all the more challenging, particularly given the sport’s history. In 67 years of competition, only two black drivers have won races.”

Bernstein:

Nascar has worked to be more inclusive in recent years. A Drive for Diversity program began in 2004 to try to develop minority and female drivers and crew members. Darrell Wallace Jr., who has won five races in the Camping World Truck Series and currently runs in the Xfinity Series, is one of the products of that program and could eventually become the first black driver to compete in the Sprint Cup Series since Bill Lester ran in two events in 2006. Wendell Scott, who in 1963 became the first black driver to win a race, was posthumously inducted into the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C., this year.

Now comes the push to remove the flag.

Stef Schrader (Black Flag) said that this push toward removing the flag from NASCAR events might not come as a surprise given “NASCAR chairman Brian France’s statement on the Confederate flag this Sunday, where he reiterated the series’ official stance as well as hinted at possible changes in the future in regards to the parts of the race weekend that NASCAR doesn’t control.”

France explained, “We have been clear in support of this position throughout our industry and to those across the country who have called for the eradication of the Confederate Flag. We will be as aggressive as possible to disassociate NASCAR events from an offensive and divisive symbol. We are working with the industry right now to achieve that goal.”

Schrader noted, “For now, how the industry discourages the fans from displaying the Confederate flag seems to be left up to individual tracks to enforce.”

SOURCE

Nascar Asks Fans to Put Away Confederate Flags (New York Times)

NASCAR Asks Fans To Please Stop Flying The Confederate Flag (Black Flag)

This entry was posted in Civil War, Racism, Society, South Carolina and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to NASCAR Asks Fans to Stop Flying Confederate Battle Flag at Its Events

  1. Good for Mr. France and Mike Helton. Also, kudos to a couple of the most popular drivers like Dale Jr. and Jeff Gordon for making such strong public statements.

    As for Wendell Scott, he was one of the best drivers ever. He had little to work with in the way of equipment and money, but still managed to be competitive. For those who have not seen it, I suggest you find a copy of the biopic movie “Greased Lightning,” featuring Richard Pryor playing the role of Wendell Scott. The producers took some artistic license with the movie, but it still catches much of the flavor of those early days of NASCAR racing.

  2. mespo727272 says:

    According to Forbes, NASCAR revenues are down 31% in the past 4 years. Teams are losing sponsors and attendance is down. NASCAR is not about to alienate any demographic nor do anything to jeopardize it’s greatest source of revenue – TV money. Bottom line, like most capitalists, heritage is optional and the word “principle” is always spelled with a “$” as the first letter.

  3. mespo727272 says:

    Scott was a good driver hampered by attitudes on race. He wasn’t in a class with Petty, Earnhardt Pearson or Yarborough, but he was a solid competitor every race he ran.

  4. mespo727272 says:

    PS: Is NASCAR really asking if it’s “left up to the individual tracks to enforce.” Good mannered censorship is censorship nonetheless.

  5. Mark,
    What if we could dial the clock back and put Scott in the Hendrick Motorsport stable with the likes of Jeff Gordon, Dale Jr. and Jimmy Johnson? I have an idea he would be in the Chase for the Cup. I recall Rick Hendrick being a guest on Larry King’s interview show a few years ago. Larry King asked him how much it cost to put a top competitor car on the track. Hendrick responded without missing a beat, “About sixteen million dollars.”

    Here is a short video narrated by Wendell Scott’s son, Franklin Scott:

  6. mespo727272 says:

    Chuck:
    Wendell was a risky driver so I doubt he’d be up for a spot on a top team. Now he might have been risky by temperament or because of his lack of resources. We’ll never know for sure.

  7. Anonymously Yours says:

    I find it ironic since the entire organization was created by southerners….. But I have no problem…. Because it’s a private organization ….. They may ask of its attendee anything within boundaries…l

  8. Anonymously Yours says:

    Did I have a post go into spam.

  9. Anonymously Yours says:

    Follow

  10. Anonymously Yours says:

    Thank you….

  11. Elaine M. says:

    NASCAR Distances Itself From Donald Trump After Remarks
    http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/nascar-distances-itself-donald-trump-after-remarks-n386551

    Excerpt:
    NASCAR is the latest corporation to distance itself from Donald Trump.

    On the same day one of its top sponsors called on NASCAR to take a stance against Trump, the motorsports series said it will not hold its season-ending awards ceremony at the Trump National Doral Miami.

    “We looked at everything we saw coming down and what we heard from our sponsors and our partners and what we feel we should be doing, and that’s what led us to the decision today,” NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said Friday at Daytona International Speedway.

    Trump’s spokesman, Hope Hicks, declined to comment to NBC News Friday.

  12. rafflaw says:

    I have never understood how sitting on your ass and driving a machine is considered a “sport”! However, removing this flag is a good idea.

  13. Mark,
    Wendell Scott was one of those drivers who let it all hang out. Those were different days then, with different–and fewer–rules. Bunch of wild guys who lived at the edge of being outlaws anyway. Cars were real stock cars then, not the fake body shells we have now. I recall seeing a brief film clip of Junior Johnson with the driver’s side door missing. He is literally sitting out in the open.

  14. Mike Spindell says:

    I feel good that two of my favorite NASCAR drivers (yes I do follow the sport) Dale Earnhardt, Jr. a native of North Carolina and Jeff Gordon have spoken out. Considering that Dale Jr. has quite the Southern heritage it speaks of a thoughtful man. Go Junior!

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