clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NASCAR tracks ask fans not to display Confederate flags at races

NASCAR and its tracks want fans to stop publicly displaying Confederate flags.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

NASCAR tracks are asking fans to refrain from displaying Confederate flags at its races, in a joint statement on Thursday signed by all 29 tracks that host the Sprint Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series.

"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," said the statement. "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."

Because it's commonly associated with white supremacy, the place of the Confederate flag in American society has come under national scrutiny following the June 17 shooting deaths of nine African-Americans by a white gunman inside a Charleston, South Carolina church.

Photographs of the alleged killer holding a Confederate flag and making racist remarks have since emerged. Several states, including South Carolina, have either removed the flag from public settings outright or working on legislation to do so.

NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France and star drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jeff Gordon have stated they would prefer fans not display the Confederate flag at races, as is regularly done particularly at events within the Deep South. Earnhardt called the flag "offensive to an entire race."

Previously, France had said NASCAR and its tracks still permits displays of the Confederate flag because of free speech. But his stance and that of the sanctioning body has become more resolute saying NASCAR will "go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag," in an interview with The Associated Press last week.

Daytona International Speedway, the site of this weekend's Sprint and Xfinity races, announced an initiative where fans can exchange a Confederate flag for an American flag.