NASCAR dropped a bomb on some members of its huge fanbase on June 10th when it announced that the Confederate flag would be banned from all future events.
Two days before the announcement, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, one of the most successful African-American drivers in NASCAR history, told CNN host Don Lemon that he felt the auto racing giant should enact such a ban in the name of committing to the fight against racism.
In their statement about the change, NASCAR wrote:
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,” NASCAR said in a statement.
“Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.
Speaking to Fox Sports after the announcement, Wallace said "Bravo. Props to NASCAR and everybody involved. This has been a stressful couple of weeks."
Wallace was about to race in the Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at the Martinsville Speedway and said it was "no doubt the biggest race" of his career. He said he was excited and "hats off the NASCAR." Then he elaborated on his communications with NASCAR president Steve Phelps.
"[Phelps] and I have been in contact a lot, just trying to figure out what steps are next. And that was a huge, pivotal moment for the sport," he said.
"Lot of backlash," Wallace, clad in a shirt reading, "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter," concluded, "but it creates doors and allows the community to come together as one, and that's what the real mission is here. So I'm excited about that."
Bubba Wallace ended up finishing the Blue-Emu 500 at no. 11, but it sounds like he still walked away feeling like a winner.