NASCAR

NASCAR Bans Confederate Flags, Prompting Driver Ray Ciccarelli To Announce His Retirement

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(CelebrityAccess) — NASCAR Truck Series driver Ray Ciccarelli announced that he’s retiring from the sport following NASCAR’s decision to ban Confederate flags from all events.

In a screed posted to his Facebook page, Ciccarelli wrote that he was upset with the auto racing organization’s decision and viewed it as so much “political BS”

“Well its been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after the 2020 season is over,” Ciccarelli wrote. “I don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken [SIC] ppl right to fly whatever 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—ing one group to cater to another,” he added.

However, despite Ciccarelli insinuation that politics is a new addition to the world of NASCAR, the sport has always been a bastion of conservative politics, from the 1980s when Ronald Reagan celebrated Richard Petty’s 200th victory to the 2016 election, when NASCAR CEO Brian France and multiple drivers voiced support for the candidacy of President Trump.

As well, NASCAR fans have typically skewed conservative, with an over representation of older, white males among the sport’s audience. In the early 2000s, the NASCAR Dad, along with the Soccer Mom, became a sought-after political demographic and a key to electoral victories by George W. Bush.

However, in recent years, declining television ratings and race attendance that reached record lows in 2018, prompted  NASCAR to rethink its image.

As well, NASCAR is sensitive to the needs of its sponsors and the sponsors of its racing teams, which may explain why the organization has expressed support for the Black Lives Matter movement in recent days, including on Wednesday when driver Bubba Wallace competed in a custom car intended to advocate for racial equality.

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