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NASCAR drivers react to violent protests in Charlotte

Drivers are paying attention to the social unrest unfolding in their adopted home city.

Jerry Markland/Getty Images

Like many throughout the country, NASCAR drivers watched the protests in downtown Charlotte, N.C. and were dismayed by what they saw. Making it all the more personal was that the majority of them live in the area.

"There's an emotional reaction," Joey Logano said Friday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. "A lot of times when you see things like this happen it's in a different city and you don't recognize where it's at, but when you see the NASCAR building getting vandalized and you see areas of the city that you know very well with just crazy things happening it makes you sick to your gut.

"You don't know what to do and you kind of feel helpless."

Although the majority of drivers were raised elsewhere in the country, Charlotte and the surrounding area has become the home for many as nearly every NASCAR team is based nearby.

NASCAR's downtown offices were damaged - lobby windows were smashed -- when protests in the city turned violent Wednesday night a day after a police officer shot and killed Keith Lamont Scott. Also damaged was the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which is owned by the city. A peaceful protest took place on Thursday night.

Matt Kenseth, a Wisconsin native, was at the NASCAR office earlier Wednesday before the protest began that evening.

"You just hope it stops," Kenseth said. "I think that we're very, very, very fortunate to live in a free country and peaceful protest and demonstrations are okay. Certainly, the violence and the vandalism and the theft and stuff isn't really a way to I think prove a point or try to make things better."

Austin Dillon is one of the few Sprint Cup drivers born and raised within North Carolina. Like Logano, Kenseth, and others, he hopes a resolution can be found via peaceful means.

"It's sad that our country is at this point in time," Dillon said. "I just hope everybody can look at everything and gather their thoughts and figure out the right way to fix the problems we have. Hopefully, with the way things are the right people will come together and fix these problems that are going on. It's just sad really."

Said Logano: "All we can do really is just say some prayers and hope that eventually everything calms down and everyone is able to come to some kind of peace at the end of this thing, and we can move on and move forward and make our world better."