NASCAR fans who bring a Confederate flag to the track on Sunday at the Coke Zero 400 will not be turned away, but instead urged to trade them in for another flag—one with 50 stars and 13 stripes.
A flag exchange will be set up for the event and hope that fans will participate to show patriotism on the day after Independence Day.
“I think the goal of any NASCAR event, and specifically Daytona, we want to be inclusive to everyone,” DIS president Joie Chitwood said Tuesday. “The last thing you want is for anyone to come to a sporting event and really not enjoy that experience because of symbols that really represent things that we’re not proud of.
“For us, we’re celebrating the American flag this weekend. It’s our nation’s birthday. … Going forward, we’ll really have to look at where that other flag goes, because it doesn’t have a place in our sport and we’ve got to take a thoughtful process on how we get to that place.”
Chitwood’s statement comes just over a week after NASCAR advocated for the removal of the Confederate flag in South Carolina. While the sport hasn’t eliminated the flags from sanctioned events, the exchange should offer fans another way to show their support.
“I think it is offensive to an entire race,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. said over the weekend at Sonoma Raceway. “It really does nothing for anybody to be there, flying. It belongs in the history books and that’s about it.”
While there wasn’t much made of the flags at Sonoma in California, the debate will surely come up again in a few weeks. When NASCAR returns to the southern tracks like Bristol Motor Speedway and Darlington Raceway—the only Sprint Cup race in South Carolina—in August and September, expect more talk about what the sport should do moving forward.
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