NASCAR tracks issued a statement Thursday requesting that fans "refrain" from displays of the Confederate flag while attending races.
The statement signed by 30 tracks, including the tracks owned by International Speedway Corporation and Speedway Motorsports Inc., is as follows:
“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.
“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.”
A NASCAR spokesperson said the request would pertain to "overt displays" of the Confederate flag. If you're a fan wanting to bring in a 15-foot Confederate flag to fly on track property while at a race or are planning to use the symbol as a way to make a boisterous statement, you're likely going to be asked to not do so and possibly escorted out of the track premises.
The statement from NASCAR's tracks is a continuation of the theme started by NASCAR chairman Brian France last week. In an interview with the Associated Press, France said he wanted the flag eliminated from NASCAR events.
After France's comments, it was clear that the sport with strong southern roots preferred fans to not loudly display Confederate symbols. Thursday's statement makes it even more obvious, though we'll freely admit the request's success hinges more on fans making the (smart) decision not to display the flag than it does on tracks' ability to find offenders.
Daytona International Speedway, site of Sunday's race, is hosting a Confederate flag exchange program for any fan who wants to turn in his or her Confederate flag for an American flag. The spokesperson said the program could be extended to other tracks as well.
The sport does not sell any officially-licensed merchandise with the Confederate flag symbol and previously said it supported the effort to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds at the South Carolina Capitol.
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