DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Every track that hosts a NASCAR national series race has asked its fans to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at its events.
In a statement signed by International Speedway Corp., Speedway Motorsports Inc. and 30 tracks, the facilities vowed to have “welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment.”
The statement released Thursday includes independent tracks such as Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, Pocono Raceway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.
NASCAR Chairman Brian France has called the flag a symbol he personally finds offensive and said he wants to be as aggressive as possible in barring it from sanctioned events.
Though it won’t specifically ban people from bringing Confederate flags to the races at Daytona International Speedway in Florida this weekend, race officials will offer fans a chance to trade in any flag of their choice for an American flag.
“So, fans who would like to fly the American flag, we’ll trade with you whatever flag that you have. We want you to celebrate that flag this weekend. That’s what’s important. Going forward, we really have to look at that flag, where the other flag goes because it doesn’t have a place in our sport,” France said.
NASCAR already bans the Confederate flag from any official areas at tracks and says it is currently working on a plan on how to ban them from the infield.
In a statement from NASCAR, industry members said,
“As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment.
“To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
*The Associated Press contributed to this report