Before the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 on Wednesday, NASCAR decided to ban Confederate flags at races, and it looks like it turned out to be a practical move as the organization saw a boost in TV ratings. According to Fox Sports PR, Wednesday's race, which took place at Martinsville Speedway, posted a 1.14 rating, which is a 104 percent increase over the comparable competition in 2019. 247Sports mentioned Wednesday night's race was the 11th of the year. In 2019, the 11th race drew a 0.56 rating.
The race at Martinsville Speedway drew a rating increase of 16 percent the last weeknight race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which took place on May 28 and aired on FS1. The Wednesday night race at Darlington on May 20, which also aired on FS1, drew a 1.22 rating. NASCAR decided to ban Confederate flags shortly after Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, asking NASCAR to make a move due to the protests of racial and social injustice going on in the country.
"My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags," Wallace said in an interview CNN. "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." Wallace also said: "There's going to be a lot of angry people that carry those flags proudly, but it's time for a change. We have to change that, and I encourage NASCAR — we will have those conversations to remove those flags."
Ray Ciccarelli, a part-time Truck Series driver, announced he's quitting NASCAR after the 2020 season. When Wallace heard about that, he said banning the flag isn't about racism but about making everyone comfortable who attends races. On NBC News' TODAY show, Wallace talked about the positive feedback he saw on social media.
"There's so many comments I read, they were all shocked as to how NASCAR's approach to everything has really opened their eyes," said Wallace. "I think my favorite one was (New Orleans Saints running back) Alvin Kamara. He was giving lap-by-lap updates, it was incredible. Everybody was tuned in last night, so it was a big watching party. Hopefully, that's for the future as well."