NASCAR announced an immediate ban on the Confederate flag from all races, and one driver has announced his decision to walk away from the sport.
In the midst of ongoing protests against police brutality and racism that have arisen after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota last month, NASCAR announced that the Confederate flag has been banned from all races.
This rule is set to go into effect immediately, although its impact won’t be seen right away due to the fact that fans are not currently allowed in the grandstands for races.
Fans haven’t been allowed to attend races since before the coronavirus pandemic caused a 10-week hiatus that began after the race in Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 8.
Seven Cup Series races, five Xfinity Series races and two Truck Series races have been contested since NASCAR returned to action on Sunday, May 17.
NASCAR has also made other recent decisions in response to these protests. On-track personnel are now allowed to kneel during the national anthem, and the #43 Chevrolet of Richard Petty Motorsports’ Bubba Wallace featured the phrase “#BlackLivesMatter” during Wednesday night’s race at Martinsville Speedway. Wallace is the lone African-American Cup Series driver.
These decisions have caused one driver to announce his decision to step away from the sport.
Ray Ciccarelli, a part-time Truck Series driver who owns CMI Motorsports, will not be back in the sport following the 2020 season, nor will his organization.
He announced his decision in a Facebook post that reads as follows:
“Well its been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over , i don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl 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 all you are doing is f***ing one group to cater to another and i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!”
The 50-year-old Ellicott City, Maryland native has competed in the Truck Series since the 2017 season, although he hasn’t competed in any of the first four races that have been contested so far this season.
He attempted to qualify for the season opener at Daytona International Speedway but failed to do so. It is unknown when he will compete in the 2020 season, although it is still believed that he will compete at some point given that his post said that he won’t participate only once it has been completed.
He was set to compete in his first race of the season this Saturday, June 13 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he has withdrawn from the event.
Ciccarelli has made 18 starts throughout his career, and he has one top 10 finish. He finished a career-high ninth place at Michigan International Speedway last August. His career average finish is 24.8.
CMI Motorsports opened up in 2019 when Ciccarelli purchased trucks and equipment from Premium Motorsports after they shut down their Truck Series team following the 2018 season. Stefan Parsons, T.J. Bell and Bayley Currey have all competed for the team.