Nascar's Daytona to offer Confederate flag exchange

NASCAR'S July 4th celebration
NASCAR'S July 4th celebration   

Expect a lot more Confederate flags to show up at the Daytona International Speedway for Nascar races this Independence Day weekend, just not for the reason you might suspect.

Daytona President Joie Chitwood announced the race would not ban Confederate flags since fans had already purchased tickets for races, but anyone wishing to part ways with their Confederate flag would be offered an American replacement, according to NBC Sports.

"I think the goal of any Nascar event, and specifically Daytona, [is] to be inclusive to everyone," Chitwood said Tuesday, according to the NBC report. "The last thing you want is for anyone to come to a sporting event and really not enjoy that experience because of symbols that really represent things that we're not proud of." (Tweet This)

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Following the June 17 slaying of nine people at a historic African-American church in Charleston, South Carolina, a wave of opposition has led many to call for the removal of the Confederate flag as it is increasingly seen as a symbol of racism instead of a symbol of heritage.

But for a sport with deep southern roots, racing faces a thorny challenge to tackle without alienating fans on either side of the issue. It's why the flag exchange, which will fall on a weekend where the country is celebrating the nation's history, may offer a distinctly patriotic solution.

"For us, we're celebrating the American flag this weekend. It's our nation's birthday," Chitwood said, in the NBC Sports report. "So, fans who would like to fly the American flag, we'll trade with you on whatever flag you have. We want you to celebrate that flag this weekend.

Neither Nascar nor Daytona International Speedway returned CNBC's calls for additional comment.

A Confederate flag flies in the infield as cars come out of turn one during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Oct. 7, 2007.
Rob Carr | AP
A Confederate flag flies in the infield as cars come out of turn one during a NASCAR auto race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Ala., Oct. 7, 2007.

This past weekend, Nascar Chairman Brian France denounced the Confederate flag as an "insensitive symbol."

"We want to go as far as we can to eliminate the presence of that flag," France told the Associated Press on Saturday. "I personally find it an offensive symbol, so there is no daylight how we feel about it and our sensitivity to others who feel the same way.

Others around the sport, including high-profile driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., have derided the flag as well.

"I think it is offensive to an entire race," Earnhardt said. "It really does nothing for anybody to be there, flying. It belongs in the history books, and that's about it."

Read the full NBC Sports article here.