NASCAR will no longer allow the Confederate battle flag to fly at its events and race tracks following nationwide protests against racial inequality in the wake of George Floyd’s death, the company said Wednesday.
The decision came after Bubba Wallace, the NASCAR Cup Series' only black driver, and others called on the stock car circuit to ban the flag. The sight of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events was a divisive topic among fans in recent years, with critics arguing it is a symbol of slavery and racial oppression.
“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 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.”
NASCAR President Steve Phelps pledged last Sunday that the stock car circuit would take steps to combat racial injustice. Wallace was set to run his No. 43 car with a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme at a race Wednesday night at Martinsville Speedway.
The premier stock car circuit has considered banning the flag in the past. Former chairman Brian France sought to ban the symbol in 2015, only to reverse course after pushback from fans.
CORRECTION: Bubba Wallace is the only Black driver for NASCAR. In an earlier version of this story, his name was incorrect.