For one NASCAR driver, the ban of the Confederate flag from events was a reason for him to quit racing with the company.
According to NBC News, Ray Ciccarelli announced on Wednesday that he would leave NASCAR at the end of the season writing on Facebook that it has “been a fun ride and dream come true,” but if this is the direction NASCAR is headed, he will not partake in NASCAR races after the 2020 season is done.
Ciccarelli, a Truck Series driver, said he doesn’t condone kneeling during the national anthem and he doesn’t believe in “taken people right to fly what ever flag they love.”
“I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist,” he argued.
He further said that NASCAR is “fu*king one group to cater to another,” adding that he didn’t “spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!!”
The topic of removing the Confederate flag was ignited by Bubba Wallace Jr., the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top series. Wallace, whose real name is Darrell, demanded the flag be banned at NASCAR events on Monday, saying there was “no place” for it in the sport.
Eventually, NASCAR answered to the demand with a Wednesday statement posted to Twitter.
“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,” the statement said. They added that the display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR properties and events.
Not too long after their statement, Wallace drove a Chevrolet emblazoned with #BlackLivesMatter during a race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.
Wallace also wore a black T-shirt that read “I Can’t Breathe/Black Lives Matter” before the race, repeating the same wardrobe as a Sunday race. Wallace explained to the “TODAY” show on Thursday that he’s witnessed too many comments and stories from first-time fans that attend a NASCAR race who say they’ve spotted the Confederate flag flying and it made them feel uncomfortable.
“It’s not a race thing. It’s about walking into an event and feeling uncomfortable,” he said. “That’s it. If you felt uncomfortable, you would want change. So, I’m speaking out for the people that show up to the race track and feel that type of way.”
Meanwhile, Ciccarelli doesn’t have a great record when it comes to NASCAR racing. According to ESPN, he’s ranked 50th in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series and he hasn’t won any races. He’s also never been in the Top 5 or Top 10. RacingReference.info also shows that he’s never won a race in other leagues outside of NASCAR.
Twitter users were quick to say that he won’t be missed.
“Ray Big Mad! You ain’t win a damn thang anyway,” tweeted Sports Analyst Marcus Spears.
“Honestly gotta respect Ray Ciccarelli for making his entire racing career an ode to the Confederacy by staunchly refusing to win EVER,” wrote another sports reporter, Aaron West.
In reaction to Ciccarelli quitting, Wallace said, “I think he just solidified his career and no longer being a part of NASCAR. I would encourage NASCAR to really step up and look at that if he tries to reinstate.”