DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- NASCAR CEO Brian France has infuriated the stock car giant's fan base of Southerners by publicly challenging them to fold up their beloved Confederate flag and stick it in a drawer somewhere -- anywhere, but at his race tracks.
And by doing so has once again demonstrated in his leadership role the corporate adage: "Do as I say -- not as I do."
France has made it very clear though NASCAR's strong national media influences that the "Stars and Bars" is a symbol of racial hatred that has to go. Yet on NASCAR's own media website, it lists the stock car giant's executive management team of 30, with their name an title underneath their faces -- 22 men and eight women. And while gender weighs heavily on the male side. The common denominator for all 30 is the color of their skin. They're all white.
And while President Obama had the White House lit up in the colors of a rainbow in celebration of the Supreme Court's 5-4 ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, NASCAR's longstanding fan base in the Deep South where moonshiners outraced the cops to deliver their distilled liquor, these NASCAR fans could relate to the stories told of moonshiners racing in the hills of the Carolinas and Kentucky, like Ralph Earnhardt, father of the late-great Dale Earnhardt, revered to this day, nearly 15 years after his lap-last crash in the 2001 Daytoa 500, when his No. 3 black Chevy was bumped from behind, sending him straight into the outside conrete wall at 186 mph . While the accident didn't seem too majot at the time, later replays showed the hood whipping back and forth like a wet dish rag. as Ernhardt and the front of thw car absorbed the energy -- killing him instantly.
And while NASCAR has seen its attendance continually drop to the point where February's running of the Daytona 500 won by no-name driver Joey Logano under caution was seen in the grandstands by a mere 75,000 paid spectators. Back in the day when a brash up-and-comer named Jeff Gordon began challenging Earnhardt, attendance at Daytona's high-banks track was more in the neighborhood of 190,000.
While Major League Baseball expanded its national reach with second-tier teams like the Boston Braves moving to Milwaukee and the Brooklyn Dodgers moving to Los Angeles, the world of stock-car racing was clearly a regional sport that catered to a segrated Souherners, whoose Southern pride was wrapped in the Confederate flag.
hen Atlanta and the Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Dodgers NASCAR was a Southern sport whose roots were were in places like Martinsville, Va.; Darlinton, SC; North Wilskboro.