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NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace Wants Confederate Flags Banned From Race Tracks – NPR

Bubba Wallace wears an “I Can’t Breathe, Black Lives Matter” shirt before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brynn Anderson/AP

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Brynn Anderson/AP

Bubba Wallace wears an “I Can’t Breathe, Black Lives Matter” shirt before a NASCAR Cup Series auto race Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Brynn Anderson/AP

Darrell “Bubba” Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver on NASCAR’s top circuit in more than 45 years, wasn’t always offended by the Confederate flag.

But now he wants them banned from all races.

The 26-year-old from Alabama said he’s been making an effort to educate himself on what the flag signifies for many people. Presumably, that for some it’s become an emblem for white supremacy, and is a reminder of America’s slave history, bigotry and oppression of African Americans.

“What I’m chasing is checkered flags, and that was kind of my narrative,” Wallace said in a Monday interview with CNN. “But diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that, people talk about that — that’s the first thing they bring up.”

He added, “My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags. No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

The red flag with blue bars and white stars, which the Sons of Confederate Veterans adopted as a symbol of Southern heritage, has been linked to NASCAR almost since its inception. For decades, the Darlington Raceway in South Carolina hosted the Rebel 400 in the spring, and featured the flag prominently on programs and other advertisements, all while “Dixie” played as the soundtrack at pre-race ceremonies.

However, over the years it’s become a bit of an albatross for the stock car racing association. In 2015, after a white supremacist killed nine African Americans inside a Charleston, S.C., church, then-NASCAR CEO and Chairman Brian France referred to the flag as an “offensive and divisive symbol.”

Despite a pledge to disassociate NASCAR from the rebel battle flag, the association did not go as far as to ban it from the stands. Instead, it “requested” people stop bringing them to races and set up a flag exchange program where attendees could trade in their Confederate flag for an American one.

And as protests have raged on in recent weeks, with thousands demonstrating against police brutality — especially brutality against black people at the hands of white officers — NASCAR has launched a campaign supporting racial equality and diversity.

Regardless, Wallace said further action on the flags is overdue, though he acknowledged the move would likely draw backlash from fans.

“There’s going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it’s time for change,” he said. “We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR to have those conversations to remove those flags.”

Those who disagree can “get back on the road where you came from,” Wallace said.

“We should not be able to have an argument over that,” he said. “It is a thick line we cannot cross anymore.”

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NASCAR's Steve

NASCAR’s Steve Phelps on Coca-Cola 600 honoring fallen US service members: ‘A really special time for us’ – Fox News

NASCAR President Steve Phelps appeared on “Fox Report” Saturday to preview Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina and to discuss how the motor sport will honor fallen U.S. service members during the event.

“The Coca-Cola 600, which starts at 6 p.m. on FOX, is it’s just a special race. We have no other race like it,” Phelps said. “Not only is it our longest race, but as you said this, you know, the fallen soldiers, and the name of the fallen soldiers on top of the windshield in honoring the Gold Star families… it’s just a really special time for us.”


Each car on Sunday will carry the name of a fallen service member above its windshield, and the field will pull into the pits mid-race for a moment of remembrance.

Giving the command to fire things up at the race will reportedly be Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley.

Anchor Jon Scott asked Phelps why NASCAR fans have such a huge appreciation for the military.

“I think part of it is… a fan is twice as likely to have served in the military in NASCAR than any other sport. And so there’s just a natural connection between NASCAR and the military,” Phelps explained. “There are other opportunities that we have to celebrate, obviously, wrapping ourselves in the flag or honoring our servicemen tomorrow is particularly special, just given that it’s Memorial Day or the day before Memorial Day.”

Scott asked Phelps about organization holding races during the coronavirus pandemic after it restarted the season last week with no fans. Phelps said that despite the empty grandstands and the safety measures, there is normalcy in having races resume.

“[In] between the green and the checkered, it feels very normal. So that part’s fantastic. The protocols and procedures that we have in place for our competitors to keep them safe, we [developed] a fantastic plan, [worked] with local, state and federal health officials to make sure it was rock solid,” Phelps said. “And it worked very well in Darlington. We expect the same thing in Charlotte tomorrow night.”

Fox News’ Paulian Dedaj contributed to this report.

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