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Confederate Flag, 'Defund NASCAR' Sign Flown by Plane at Talladega Superspeedway

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 21, 2020

A plane trails a banner proclaiming Defund NASCAR near Talladega Superspeedway prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race in Talladega Ala., Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
John Bazemore/Associated Press

NASCAR officially banned the Confederate flag from its racetracks and events June 10, but some people found a way to display the flag before Sunday's Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama.

According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, a plane flew above the Superspeedway displaying the Confederate flag and the message "Defund NASCAR."

Bob Pockrass @bobpockrass

Here is a view that shows where the Confederate flag is flying with the message “Defund NASCAR” https://t.co/4tQpUnJxfh

"Defund NASCAR" appears to be an attempt to mock the "Defund the Police" sentiment, which has become a popular rallying cry following the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the subsequent protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

According to ESPN, the Confederate flag was also displayed outside of the race track. Per that report, "Vehicles lined the boulevard outside Talladega Superspeedway...waving the flag." Additionally, "NASCAR has not stated how exactly it plans to stop fans from displaying the flag on track property, and none of the instances Sunday at Talladega were inside the facility."

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace had pushed for the sport to ban the Confederate flag. 

"It's been a long time coming for sure," he said during a June 12 appearance on NPR's All Things Considered. "And I know a lot of people are satisfied with the direction and the choices that NASCAR would make to change the image and move forward with the message that we're trying to push across these days."

NASCAR @NASCAR

.@bubbawallace will run a special paint scheme to honor #BlackLivesMatter for Wednesday night’s race at @MartinsvilleSwy. https://t.co/1axOlSsig7

He added that he hopes the change "may open the doors for new people to want to be a part of our sport now. ... We will learn and figure out ways to build off this to get a more diverse background on the racetrack and on the part of pit crews, even more there. We have a lot of guys from different backgrounds in pit crews and even in the front offices of NASCAR and race teams."

The Geico 500 was the first NASCAR race to have fans in attendance since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, opening the grandstands to about 5,000 attendees.  

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