Confederate flag in automobile at NC racetrack prompts apology from race organizers | Sports activities

Organizers of the NASCAR sequence at Winston-Salem’s Bowman Gray Stadium apologized this week after a automobile with a Confederate flag decal made it onto the monitor, breaching NASCAR’s ban on the image.

“It will not happen again,” Gray Garrison, a spokesman for the monitor, stated of the decal, which was inside Lee Stimpson’s automobile on Saturday night time.

“We must have just flat-out missed it, so we did miss it, and we apologize and will talk with (Stimpson) about that,” Garrison stated.

Stimpson, who raced his No. 45 within the Modified Division’s Hayes Jewelers 200, stated on Wednesday night time that he would have taken the decal of the Confederate flag off his automobile or lined it if officers would have requested him to.

“When you aren’t around, you get behind,” Stimpson stated about not being a daily on the monitor since 2007. “I put that (decal) in there probably 10 or 12 years ago and I don’t run hardly at all anymore over there, and if somebody would have come over to me and said to get that out of there I would have addressed the situation.”

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Stimpson stated he went by the Friday apply day final week however not one of the monitor officers stated something. And then he went by qualifying on Saturday earlier than the race.

“Gray and them have been super, super good to me and my family,” Stimpson stated. “And if I would have known this would have given them some bad press, that’s the last thing I would want to do. They are good people and I would hate for something I did would give them some bad press. I’m not making any excuses, but I wish somebody would have come over and said, ‘You need to do something about that.’”

Garrison stated he would ensure that Stimpson doesn’t have the image in his automobile if he races once more.

Stimpson stated he’ll doubtless race yet one more time this season at Bowman Gray Stadium, and if he does is not going to have the decal in his automobile. “Absolutely I will not have it on there,” he stated.

Garrison stated the ban on the Confederate flag covers all 4 divisions that race on Saturday nights: Modified, Sportsman, Street Stock and Stadium Stock.

The City of Winston-Salem owns the monitor.

Ben Rowe, an assistant metropolis supervisor who was on the monitor Saturday night time, stated he didn’t see the picture however heard about it Monday.

“It was simply an oversight because that’s not something that is allowed to be displayed during races,” stated Rowe, who’s liable for the town’s public amenities.

The metropolis doesn’t have an ordinance in opposition to displaying the flag, Rowe stated, however the metropolis is not going to enable distributors on the Carolina Classic Fair to promote objects bearing photos of the Confederate flag.

“We go by the rules at the track that are set forth by NASCAR and WSSI (Winston-Salem Speedway Inc.), and we support those rules,” Rowe stated.

NASCAR banned Confederate imagery in any respect tracks protecting all ranges of racing final June after a high-profile incident by which a noose on a storage pull-down rope at Talladega Speedway in Alabama was discovered within the storage assigned to NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace, the one Black driver within the sequence. After investigating, the FBI stated the noose was on the storage door rope since October 2019 and that Wallace was not focused.

Racing at Bowman Gray Stadium, in its 72nd season, is a part of the NASCAR Weekly Series.

Garrison stated he and his workers strive to make sure that drivers don’t make political statements on their vehicles.

“We had a couple of drivers who had what looked like a Confederate flag blending into an American flag, and we asked them to cover them up or take them off the car,” Garrison stated. “We are very consistent with that policy, and our drivers know it.”

Bowman Gray Stadium, which is residence to soccer video games for the traditionally Black college Winston-Salem State in the course of the fall, hosted a sellout crowd of greater than 13,000 on opening night time, the primary monitor exercise since August 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stimpson, from Lewisville, positioned twenty first after his first race on the monitor in a number of years and received $300.

“I was hanging on by a thread,” Stimpson stated about his race that ended with a damaged rear suspension that pressured him to the pits in the course of the lengthy 200-lap race on a sizzling, muggy night time. “So it was a blessing in disguise that I had to quit. It took a lot out of me, and I thought I was in better condition. I’ve had a bout with cancer and I was just informed I’m a diabetic so I’ve had some health things.”

NASCAR’s choice to ban Confederate symbols turned a flash-point final summer time, which was marked by protests over the homicide of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer and ongoing tensions over racial divisions.

Confederate photos have been additionally taken down throughout the nation in recent times, together with the removing of the Confederate memorial in downtown Winston-Salem in March 2019.

After the Wallace incident, NASCAR took a stand in opposition to racism, with a memorable second at Talladega Superspeedway when drivers gathered with Wallace and pushed his automobile to the start-finish line earlier than the race.

“It’s a family run deal with my brother and I,” Stimpson stated about his race workforce. “We’re just a two-man team and I like to go over there and be with my friends and that place has always been really good to me ….

“I understand that about the rules and I know that Gray has to answer to somebody, too, and they are a NASCAR-sanctioned track. I have no hard feelings toward Bowman Gray and I hate that it slipped through the cracks like that.”

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