NASCAR bans display of Confederate flags at tracks

Nearly five years after requesting that fans don’t display the flag at races, NASCAR said Wednesday that it was now prohibiting the display of the flag.

NASCAR’s announcement comes two days after Bubba Wallace said the flag should be prohibited from tracks and as protests continue in the wake of George Floyd’s killing in Minneapolis on May 25.

“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,” a NASCAR statement said. “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.”

NASCAR held a moment of silence on Sunday ahead of its Cup Series race at Atlanta and NASCAR president Steve Phelps made a speech recognizing the work to be done to fix racial injustice. Drivers also teamed up to film a video speaking out against racial injustice and inequality.

NASCAR’s ban came hours before the Cup Series races at Martinsville Speedway, the site of Wallace’s first NASCAR win in 2013. Wallace, the only black driver racing full-time in any of NASCAR’s top three series, won a Truck Series race at the track seven years ago to become the first black driver to win a NASCAR race since Wendell Scott in 1964.

Wallace wore a shirt ahead of Sunday’s race that said “I can’t breathe” in reference to Floyd’s final words. His shirt also supported the Black Lives Matter movement. Wednesday night, his car will support it too. Wallace is driving a black No. 43 car for Black Lives Matter.