NASCAR driver and team owner Ray Ciccarelli apparently has decided to quit racing over the sport’s ban on Confederate battle flags at races.
Ciccarelli, who owns CMI Motorsports and has been behind the wheel for the team the last three years during the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series races, will not return to the sport following the 2020 season, according to a post on his Facebook page.
The now-deleted post — which concluded with his wife’s name, possibly as a signature — attacked NASCAR for bowing to “political BS” over its recent move to ban Confederate flags at events and properties, according to CBS Sports.
The deleted post was saved by racing columnist John Haverlin and shared on Twitter.
The post said Ciccarelli or his wife didn’t care about the Confederate flag but was upset about the sport’s position to go political.
“Well, it’s been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction NASCAR is headed, we will not participate after 2020 season is over,” the Facebook post said, according to Haverlin’s screen shot.
“I don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love,” it added.
“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—ing 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!!” the post concluded.
— John Haverlin (@JohnHaverlin) June 10, 2020
Ciccarelli, who is from Ellicott City, Maryland, shared his views in an interview Thursday with The Baltimore Sun, citing NASCAR’s reported decision to drop a requirement that teams stand for the national anthem.
“I don’t believe in the direction NASCAR is going,” he said. “I have family and friends who defend this country every day. I don’t believe in kneeling.”
Ciccarelli also addressed the Confederate flag ban.
“Hell, I ain’t never owned a Confederate flag, nor do I care about the Confederate flag,” he told The Sun. “But there are people out there who do. That should be their right. The only flag that means anything to me is the American flag, but that doesn’t mean other people don’t love other flags like the Confederate flag and that doesn’t make them racist. …
“Everything is racial today. If you don’t agree with what everyone else agrees on, then you’re automatically a racist.”
Ciccarelli had not competed in a race this year, according to ESPN.
NASCAR announced Wednesday that it was banning the display of the Confederate flag at all of its events and from all of its properties.
“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 that was issued before Wednesday’s race at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
“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,” it said.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020
The ban on Confederate flags came after racer Bubba Wallace, the sport’s only black driver, vowed to put an end to the presence of the flags at NASCAR events.
On Sunday, Wallace wore a shirt that read “I Can’t Breathe” — a reference to the words of George Floyd, who died May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody — and “Black Lives Matter” at the Atlanta Motor Speedway.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) June 7, 2020
NASCAR drivers have joined the growing list of athletes and sports leagues throwing their support behind the nationwide protests against police brutality.
— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 9, 2020
“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Wallace said.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them,” he said. “It’s time for change.”
NASCAR praised Wallace on its website Wednesday after he drove a car with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme at the Martinsville Speedway.
Bubba Wallace, the only full-time black driver in NASCAR, will run a special paint scheme to honor “Black Lives Matter” for Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 10, 2020
“Wallace drove with purpose Wednesday night, carrying more than mere on-track hopes with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme on his Richard Petty Motorsports No. 43 at Martinsville Speedway. It netted him an 11th-place finish, falling just shy of a top-10 result after a late-race mixing of fenders with seven-time champ and Martinsville master Jimmie Johnson,” NASCAR’s Zack Albert reported.
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