Sanctioning body and tracks ask fans to refrain from displaying stars and bars.
NASCAR could not make its position on the Confederate battle flag any more clear than it did on Thursday morning.
After dancing around the subject since Governor Nikki Haley called for the flag to be removed from the South Carolina State House grounds on June 22, following the racially motivated shooting of nine African Americans at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, the sanctioning body — along with racetracks that hold NASCAR events — is asking fans not to wave the stars and bars at races.
“As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment,” NASCAR stated in its release.
“To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., who is one of just two North Carolinians competing full-time in the Sprint Cup Series, said on Friday he supports the sanctioning body's decision.
"I stand behind NASCAR’s stance to remove it," Earnhardt said. "I think it is offensive to an entire race. It really does nothing for anybody to be there, flying. It belongs in the history books and that’s about it."
NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France released a statement on Saturday that said, "NASCAR will maintain its long-standing policy preventing the use of the Confederate Flag in any official position at our events. In all areas that NASCAR controls on a given race weekend, the flag has no presence.
“We have been clear in support of this position throughout our industry and to those across the country who have called for the eradication of the Confederate Flag. We will be as aggressive as possible to disassociate NASCAR events from an offensive and divisive symbol. We are working with the industry right now to achieve that goal.”
However, Thursday's release took that sentiment one step further with a proactive, far-reaching step aimed at eliminating the presence of the Confederate battle flag from sanctioned events entirely.
The release included the following list of signatories that shared NASCAR's stance:
International Speedway Corporation (ISC)
Auto Club Speedway
Daytona International Speedway
Michigan International Speedway
Phoenix International Raceway
Richmond International Raceway
Route 66 Raceway
Watkins Glen International
Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI)
Atlanta Motor Speedway
Bristol Motor Speedway
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
New Hampshire Motor Speedway
Texas Motor Speedway
Dover International Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Canadian Tire Motorsport Park
Gateway Motorsports Park