NASCAR Seeks to Grow the Sport Amid Controversies

| June 27, 2020 @ 2:00 pm

By Jeff Green, Hannah Elliott, and Brandon Kochkodin

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NASCAR, long a symbol of Southern heritage, has become an unlikely battleground in the debate over whether the Confederate battle flag still has a place in America.

The decision earlier this month to ban the Confederate flag from racing venues was cheered by sponsors and jeered by vocal fans – many under the hashtag #DefundNASCAR, a slam at the Black Lives Matter call to #DefundThePolice. Fans waved the red-white-and-blue battle flag, seen by many as a celebration of slavery and white supremacy, outside the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama last weekend, and they’re expected to do the same this weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

“This isn’t just about the Confederate flag,” said John Miller, co-author of “Motorsports and American Culture: From Demolition Derbies to NASCAR” and an associate professor at Longwood University in Farmville. “This is the tipping point. NASCAR is saying ‘We can’t afford to equivocate any longer.’”

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