Bubba Wallace Wants NASCAR to Ban the Confederate Flag


NASCAR began asking fans to stop bringing Confederate battle flags to races in 2015, after photos circulated online of the white man who killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., posing with the flag.

But many in NASCAR’s predominately white Southern fan base have ignored the request and brought the flag anyway, hoisting it atop campers and R.V.s on fields around racetracks.

On Monday, following days of nationwide protests calling for an end to racism and police brutality, Darrell Wallace Jr., the first black driver in 50 years to win one of NASCAR’s top three national touring series, called on NASCAR to ban the flags outright.

“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Mr. Wallace, who is known as Bubba, told Don Lemon of CNN. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

“Our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard,” he said, as drivers and crew members lowered their heads, some of them wiping away tears or holding T-shirts that said “Black Lives Matter.” “It has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.”

Mr. Wallace, who competed in Sunday’s race and wore a shirt that read “I Can’t Breathe/Black Lives Matter,” praised NASCAR leaders for those actions. His comments about the flag on Monday followed a question from Mr. Lemon about what drivers and the organization should do now.

“My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags,” Mr. Wallace said.

He said that in the past he had not been bothered by the flag.

“I chase checkered flags,” he said. But Mr. Wallace said that he had dived into the discussion around the emblem and that he understood why many were disturbed by the Confederate battle flag.

He said he would talk to NASCAR officials and encourage them to get rid of the flags at races and other events.



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