Before the start of the NASCAR All-Star Race on Wednesday, a small plane was seen flying a Confederate flag over Bristol Motor Speedway. This comes one month after NASCAR made the decision to ban Confederate flags at races in wake of the racial and social injustice protests going on in the country following the death of George Floyd. The banner also included a URL for the 'Sons of Confederate Veterans' website. It's the same group responsible for flying a Confederate flag over Talladega Superspeedway in June.
When the flag was flown in Talladega, around 5,000 fans were in attendance. On Wednesday, nearly 30,000 got to see the flag before watching Chase Elliott win the race and the $1 million prize. NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag came when Bubba Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR, spoke out against it.
A small plane flew a Confederate flag over the Bristol Motor Speedway as thousands of fans gathered to watch NASCAR's All-Star Race in Tennessee. It comes a month after NASCAR announced the Confederate flag would be prohibited from all official events. https://t.co/1JTLNniRfe— CNN (@CNN) July 16, 2020
"My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags," Wallace said in an interview with CNN in June. "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." NASCAR made the decision very quickly which led to some backlash among some fans. One part-time driver, Ray Ciccarelli, announced he was quitting at the end of the season because NASCAR banned the flag.
"I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist all you are doing is f—ing one group to cater to another and I ain't spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!" Ciccarelli wrote in a Facebook post. Wallace saw what Ciccarelli had to say and replied it's about making all fans comfortable when attending a race.
"I was kind of baffled by it honestly, Wallace said." He went on to mention "to a large group of people, it is a sign of hate and oppression, just a lot of negative and bad things that come to mind." Wallace also stated fans can fly the flag at their house, but "when it comes to a sporting event — where we want all races and everybody to be included, inclusion is what we are trying for (and) unity."