NASCAR bans Confederate flag at events, on property

NASCAR announced Wednesday afternoon a ban on displays of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events and on NASCAR property.

“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said in a prepared statement. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

Bubba Wallace, the only black driver on NASCAR’s top circuit, on Monday said he thought NASCAR should ban Confederate flags.

“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace told 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 drives the famous No. 43 car for Richard Petty Motorsports. NASCAR announced Tuesday that the No. 43 car will carry a special paint scheme honoring Black Lives Matter at the race in Martinsville on Wednesday night.

The move comes amid unrest around the world following the death in police custody of George Floyd, an unarmed black man in Minneapolis. Protests have rocked the nation for days, and Confederate monuments are being taken down across the South — the traditional fan base for NASCAR.

The flag issue has been a thorny one for NASCAR. Former chairman Brian France in 2015 tried to ban the flying of Confederate flags at race tracks, angering many fans.

- Material from The Associated Press was used in this article.