INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 24, 2015) - Thousands of fans will pour into the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard this weekend. NASCAR though has asked them to leave their Confederate flags at home and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has signed on in support of that request.
“The NASCAR community kind of at NASCAR’s direction really wanted to make a statement about the Confederate flag,” said IMS President, Doug Boles.
Boles backed the bold decision of NASCAR to nix confederate flags at their races across the country.
The racing organization released this request in early July:
“As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment.
To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.
We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
“We felt as a track that hosts it, it was important for us to be supportive of what NASCAR and the other tracks wanted to do. At the same time we did tell NASCAR that we don’t think we’ll have an issue in Indianapolis, we haven’t really ever had one,” said Boles.
Though Confederate flags are not very much of an issue for this speedway sitting in the Midwest. But the flag has made strong showings at races throughout the south.
“I stand my ground. My flag’s flying over at my house right now, race weekend,” said NASCAR fan Jeff Cox, outside the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
A few fans Friday outside of IMS refused to take down their show of southern support. One vendor selling southern merchandise has Confederate flags covering their tent.
But fans at IMS it seemed overwhelmingly respected NASCAR’s request, while also respecting the wishes of fans that refuse to remove the historic symbol of the south.
“The Confederate flag means different things to different people. To me, it’s not racist,” said NASCAR fan, Michael Warsko.
Boles said though if a Confederate flag gets in the way of anyone enjoying the race, the person displaying the flag will be asked to take it down.