While the Confederate flag has long been a common sight at NASCAR races, particularly in the infield, polarizing minorities who see the flag as a symbol of racism and oppression, the practice will now come to an end.
NASCAR events will no longer allow Confederate flags at its races, the organization announced yesterday.
“The presence of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said in a statement on its website hours ahead of its race Wednesday night in Martinsville, Virginia.
“Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020
“For us to heal and move forward as a nation, we all need to listen more and be united in the stand against racism, hatred and senseless violence and loss of life. And we must all hold ourselves accountable to driving positive change.” NASCAR said.
Current stars like Jimmie Johnson and Bubba Wallace joined icons like Dale Earnhardt Jr. in vowing to “condemn racial inequality and racism” and “advocate for change in our nations, our communities and, most importantly, in our own homes.”
Wallace, the first full-time African American NASCAR driver on the NASCAR Cup Series top circuit in nearly 50 years, sported a Black Lives Matter T-shirt before Sunday’s crowd-less race in Atlanta.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told CNN earlier this week. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
NASCAR’s next race is the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Due to coronavirus, up to 5,000 local fans will be allowed to attend.