It was the first time a significant number of fans were present at a NASCAR race since the Confederate flag was banned. Several thousand fans were on hand – and so was the flag.
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Jenna Fryer, the Associated Press auto racing reporter, tweeted that many Confederate flags were sighted in and around the Bristol Motor Speedway.
“FWIW, in addition to Confederate flag flying over Bristol there was another hanging off a balcony of a condo across from the main entrance as well as others along Speedway Blvd. Spoke to fan @Matt2Harrison and he said he say many flags on shirts and other items in stands.”
Fryer also reported that Wallace, NASCAR’s only top tier African American driver and prominently in the news when reports surfaced of a noose found in his garage at another track, was booed when he was introduced and had fans cheer when he crashed.
“Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed. NASCAR still has a lot of work to do to back up its position. The group Justice 4 Diversity held signs along Speedway Blvd. after the race.”
Wallace made an appearance on Thursday night’s episode of Showtime’s Desus & Mero talk show and defended his role in NASCAR’s efforts to ban the Confederate flag. NASCAR banned the flag on June 10, the same day Wallace drove a car supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at Martinsville, Virginia.
“We always want to pay attention to the negative, but the narrative that’s been out there now is saying all NASCAR fans are racist, and whatnot, and that’s totally not true,” Wallace said on the show, “I’ve gone down … in the infield at Talladega, wherever it’s at, Daytona, Texas, Michigan, and I never knew if people were flying the Confederate flag. We would go there and drink beer, have a good time and hang out. It wasn’t like they don’t want you there.”
Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed. NASCAR still has a lot of work to do to back up its position. The group Justice 4 Diversity held signs along Speedway Blvd. after the race.
— Jenna Fryer (@JennaFryer) July 16, 2020
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