NASCAR Confederate Flag ban

Last summer, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from all racing events. Now, this move is being hailed for bringing about more diversity among NASCAR fans. But what do NASCAR ratings say?

NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag

Fox News reported that at the entrance to Daytona International Speedway, there is a warning that the Confederate flag is not welcome on the property. It says that its presence “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment.”

Some fans are totally on board: 

NASCAR half-heartedly tried to ban the Confederate flag in 2015, but nothing really came of it.

This time, however, they were deadly serious.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps was not afraid of alienating fans with the move either. He believed that for every fan who complained about it, a new one would be drawn in to a more-inclusive sport.

NFL running back Alvin Kamara is one such new fan of NASCAR.

He watched his first race on television after hearing about the Confederate flag ban. And, just four days later, he attended his first race in person.

Since then, he has become a NASCAR super fan who also attended his first Daytona 500.

He’s even sponsored a young Hispanic driver in last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.

Related: Bubba Wallace Has A Message For NASCAR Fans Who Think He’s Made The Sport Too Political

Michael Jordon And Pitbull Get Involved With NASCAR

Since the Confederate flag was banned, NBA star Michael Jordan has made his Daytona debut as co-owner of one of three new NASCAR teams. And, rapper Pitbull has taken ownership of Trackhouse Racing.

Kamara doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that these new ownerships happened in the wake of the Confederate flag’s banning. 

“I don’t think this was a place where a lot of us felt comfortable being because of what we thought,” Kamara said. “You see that flag, you see the scope of what’s going on… One bad apple spoils the bunch.’”

Kamara has found that none of the stereotypes that he’d had about NASCAR before were true. 

“I’m meeting fans, interacting with people, and I’m like, ‘Oh, this is a safe space,'” Kamara said. “This is not what I thought it was. I was pleasantly surprised.”

NASCAR Viewership Down

However, it should be noted that NASCAR hasn’t been free of all consequences since banning the Confederate flag.

Viewership for NASCAR’s Daytona 500 was down this year by 34% compared to last year, and Sunday’s road course race averaged 76,000 fewer viewers from the same slot last year.

Perhaps fans really are sick of all this social justice nonsense. Maybe they don’t like that NASCAR felt the need to put this ban in place. 

NASCAR can pat themselves on the backs for being “inclusive” all they want to, but if the fans stop watching, it won’t matter that they banned the Confederate flag. 

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