NASCAR Truck Driver/Owner Ray Ciccarelli Quitting After Confederate Flag Ban

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJune 11, 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 14: Ray Ciccarelli, driver of the #49 CMI Motorsports Chevrolet, qualifies for the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 14, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

NASCAR's announcement that it would ban displaying the Confederate flag from all events and properties apparently didn't sit well with NASCAR Truck driver/owner Ray Ciccarelli.  

As auto racing columnist John Haverlin shared, Ciccarelli said the 2020 season will be his last in NASCAR because he doesn't believe in taking people's "right to fly what ever flag they love" and no longer wants "to participate in any political BS!!" Ciccarelli also made a point of saying he does not believe people should kneel during the national anthem as a way of protesting police brutality and racial injustice (warning: contains profanity):

"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's announcement read. "Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special."

The ban on Confederate flags comes after driver Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only black driver, told CNN's Don Lemon on Monday that the move was long overdue.

"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags," Wallace said. "Get them out of here. They have no place for them."

NASCAR President Steve Phelps also addressed concerns about racism prior to Sunday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway before the Fox broadcast showed a video featuring a number of drivers saying they will "work together to make real change:"

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The moves by NASCAR and those within the sport come after the killing of George Floyd while in Minneapolis police custody on May 25 sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racism. Officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd told officers he could not breathe. He died at a nearby hospital.

Wallace's wore a shirt with the words "I Can't Breathe" on Sunday, and the paint scheme on his car for Wednesday's race honored the Black Lives Matter movement:

Despite those steps from NASCAR, Ciccarelli came out against the banning of the Confederate flag. 

If he does actually go through with his threat to walk away from racing, it's not as if the sport will be losing one of its top competitors. Gabriel Fernandez of CBS Sports noted he has just one top-10 finish, zero victories and zero poles in 18 races over the course of three years as a part-time competitor in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series.