Ray Ciccarelli Leaving NASCAR Over Confederate Flag Ban

June 11, 2020 Updated: June 11, 2020

Ray Ciccarelli, a NASCAR driver, said he’s leaving the organization after it announced a ban on Confederate flags.

“Well its been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over,” Ciccarelli said in a post on Facebook.

Ciccarelli said he does not believe in kneeling during the anthem or taking away people’s “right to fly what ever 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 [expletive] one group to cater to another and i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!” he concluded in the post, which was later deleted.

Ciccarelli, 50, is a part-time racer in NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series, a racing series featuring pickup trucks.

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American, Confederate, and Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. flags fly near Turn 4 during NASCAR qualifying at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla., on July 4, 2015. (Phelan M. Ebenhack/AP Photo)

NASCAR said in a statement earlier Wednesday that it was banning any display of Confederate flags.

The presence of such flags go against “our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” the organization said in a statement.

Darrell Wallace Jr., 26, NASCAR’s only black full-time driver, said Monday that the organization should ban the flag.

“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with confederate flags,” he told CNN anchor Don Lemon, adding, “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

Wallace said the flag hadn’t bothered him but he looked into the matter and became upset.

During the race on Wednesday, Wallace drove a car that included the slogan “#BlackLivesMatter.”

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Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, drives during the NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway in Martinsville, Va., on June 10, 2020. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“This statement that we have right here that we’re about to make—running this racecar, being on live television on Fox—I think it’s going to speak volumes for what I stand for but also what the initiative that NASCAR, the whole sport, is trying to push,” Wallace said in a video published by Richard Petty Motorsports.

“It’s true—Black lives do matter. It’s not that we’re saying no other lives matter, we’re trying to say that black lives matter too. If we put ‘too’ on the end, I think a lot more people would understand it,” he added. “We want to be treated equally and not judged off our skin color.”

Before a race on Sunday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a message broadcast to drivers that “our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard.”

“The black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better,” he added.

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