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The truck owned by the driver who threatened via Facebook to quit NASCAR over its Confederate flag ban is getting political.
Ray Ciccarelli’s No. 49 truck will be driven on Saturday at Kentucky by Tim Viens and will have the logo for President Donald Trump’s re-election campaign plastered all over it. Viens is involved with a PAC supporting Trump’s re-election bid — the same PAC that is sponsoring Corey LaJoie’s car for nine races in the Cup Series.
Viens, a driver who has never finished inside the top 20 in seven career NASCAR starts, tried to run a Trump-supporting truck before in 2020. But his Trump truck never showed up at Daytona.
NASCAR banned Confederate flag June 10
After NASCAR decided to ban fans from flying the Confederate flag at its tracks, Ciccarelli’s wife posted to the team’s Facebook page that it would be done with NASCAR at the end of the season because of the ban.
“Well it’s been a fun ride and dream come true but if that is the direction NASCAR is headed we will not participate after the 2020 season is over,” the post said. “I don’t believe in kneeling during anthem nor taken [sic] ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist all you are doing is f------ one group to cater to another and I ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!! Sarah Ciccarelli.”
Ciccarelli tried to walk back those comments somewhat in later interviews after the Facebook post was deleted. But the post drew mainstream attention — far more attention than Ciccarelli has ever gotten for what he or his teams have ever done on the track.
Ciccarelli hadn’t made a Truck start before the Confederate flag ban and has made two since the ban was announced. His highest finish is 27th.
NASCAR exploring political bans?
The announcement of the Trump truck at Kentucky comes on the same day a report emerged that NASCAR was in early discussions about potentially banning political sponsorships. The Trump-supporting PAC is paying at least $350,000 to GoFas Racing for the sponsorship of LaJoie’s car.
NASCAR has allowed political advertisements in the past on cars, but it also hasn’t been directly targeted by a president like it was on Monday when Trump tweeted his displeasure for NASCAR’s flag ban amid a baseless attack on Bubba Wallace.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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