Nascar will prohibit the Confederate flag at all future events and properties, according to a statement the auto racing brand released today on Twitter.
The announcement comes just a day after Darrell Wallace, Jr., the first Black driver in 50 years to win one of Nascar’s top three national touring series, called on the brand to ban the flag outright, rather than just discouraging it as it’s done for the past five years.
The rule change also comes amid ongoing protests against police brutality and systemic racism that have been raging in cities across the United States for over two weeks in what some have dubbed a “reckoning” of the nation’s racist legacy.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a Nascar race,” said Wallace, known as Bubba, speaking to CNN’s Don Lemon via video chat. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Wallace also revealed a new #BlackLivesMatter design for his car Tuesday featuring white and Black hands clasped together in solidarity and the words “Compassion, love, understanding” on the hood.
In 2015, Nascar asked attendees to refrain from displaying the Confederate flag after a white gunman killed nine Black parishioners at a church in Charleston, S.C. The shooter, it was quickly discovered, had posted several photos of himself online with Confederate flags prominently displayed. Despite the racing brand’s request, the Confederate flag has continued to be a fixture among fans at Nascar events.
The flag itself isn’t the only evidence of racism among Nascar’s drivers and fans—just two months ago, Chip Ganassi Racing fired Kyle Larson and Nascar suspended him indefinitely after the driver used a racial slur on a livestream during an iRacing event.
Larson, who is half Japanese, is a graduate of Nascar’s Drive for Diversity program. The program is part of the brand’s ongoing efforts to draw more minority and women drivers and fans to the sport.
Nascar did not immediately respond to Adweek’s request for comment.
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