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Driver Ray Ciccarelli says he’s quitting NASCAR because of Confederate flag ban

Ray Ciccarelli wrote, "if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over."
Ray Ciccarelli wrote on Facebook, “if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over.”
(Chris Graythen / Getty Images)

Ray Ciccarelli says he doesn’t care about the Confederate flag.

But he is willing to quit his dream job over a new policy that bans the flag from all of the organization’s events and properties.

Ciccarelli, 50, a part-time driver in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series the last four years, announced his intention Wednesday on Facebook. Ciccarelli appears to have made his account private, but the content of his post has been published by multiple media outlets.

“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,” he wrote. “i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!!”

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The decision by NASCAR to ban Confederate flags was significant, a major Southern institution doing what was once unimaginable and denouncing a symbol of racism, columnist Dylan Hernández writes.

Last week, NASCAR ended its policy of requiring team members to stand for the national anthem. Kirk Price, a NASCAR technical inspector, knelt and raised a fist during the invocation Sunday before the Cup race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. He remained on his knee and saluted the flag during the national anthem.

Bubba Wallace, the Cup Series’ only full-time Black driver, said Monday on CNN he would have joined Price in the protest had he seen him. During the same interview, Wallace called on NASCAR to ban Confederate flags.

“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace said. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here.”

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Two days later, NASCAR did just that.

U.S. Soccer repealed a policy to stand during the national anthem that was put in place in 2017 after Megan Rapinoe knelt in support of Colin Kaepernick.

“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” NASCAR said Wednesday in a statement. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

Ciccarelli has a different opinion — one he apparently feels so strongly about he’s willing to end his career with just one top-10 finish in 18 races.

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“i don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love,” he wrote. “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 ... one group to cater to another.”


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