Confederate flags were displayed outside Talladega Motor Speedway on Sunday before the GEICO 500 NASCAR race was postponed due to rain.
Cars and pickup trucks drove along nearby roads flying the Confederate flag and paraded past the entrance in Lincoln, Alabama, located in the heart of the South. A small plane flew overhead was captured carrying a banner with the flag and the words “Defund NASCAR.”
While NASCAR didn’t acknowledge the Confederate flag on Sunday following its decision to ban them, executive vice president Steve O’Donnell appeared to slam the display on Twitter.
“You won’t see a photo of a jackass flying a flag over the track here…but you will see this…Hope EVERYONE enjoys the race today,” he wrote.
Rapper Ice Cube also responded on the social media platform after hearing of the plane flying the flag.
“Fu** him NASCAR, you got new fans in this household,” he said.
Roughly 5,000 fans were allowed in to watch the race at Talladega that was postponed until Monday. There weren’t any reports of Confederate flags being confiscated or taken down at the track, and NASCAR hasn’t said exactly how it plans to stop the display on track property.
A pickup truck was seen with the flags flying from its back, while a merchandise tent flew them in a display alongside Trump 2020 banners and an American flag.
Race fans fly Confederate battle flags and a United States flag as they drive by Talladega Superspeedway prior to a NASCAR Cup Series auto race in Talladega Ala., Sunday, June 21, 2020. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
“They’re doing very well,” said Ed Sugg, a Helena, Ala., resident, who has been selling an array of wares at NASCAR races for 21 years. “People are disappointed that NASCAR has taken that stance. It’s been around for as long as all of us have been. I don’t think anybody really connects it to any kind of racism or anything. It’s just a Southern thing. It’s transparent. It’s just a heritage thing.”
David Radvansky, a 32-year-old from suburban Atlanta, said he’s been coming to Talladega since the 1990s. He brought his wife and boys on Sunday.
“I don’t think there’s a place for it in NASCAR, to be honest with you,” he said. “That doesn’t sit well with all the good ol’ boys, but it is what it is.”
One of the biggest advocates for NASCAR’s decision to remove the Confederate flag was driver Bubba Wallace, 26, who successfully pushed the sport to do so two weeks ago following the death of George Floyd on May 25. A noose was found in his garage stall on Sunday.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement after being made aware of the noose. “As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”
“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you. This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in,” Wallace wrote on Twitter Sunday.