NASCAR, ISC support governor’s call for removal of Confederate flag

NASCAR issued a statement Tuesday supporting South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call for the Confederate flag to be removed from statehouse grounds in the wake of last Wednesday’s tragic shootings in which nine people were killed at a church in Charleston.

The Republican governor said in a news conference on Monday afternoon that taking down the controversial flag that now flies at the state capitol in Columbia would unite the state where an alleged gunman believed to be a white supremacist fatally wounded nine black members of the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church during a Wednesday night Bible study.

NASCAR agrees with the governor’s stance.

"As we continue to mourn the tragic loss of life last week in Charleston, we join our nation’s embrace of those impacted," said Tuesday’s statement released by the sanctioning body. "NASCAR supports the position that South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took on the Confederate Flag on Monday. As our industry works collectively to ensure that all fans are welcome at our races, NASCAR will continue our long-standing policy to disallow the use of the Confederate Flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity. While NASCAR recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens, we will continue to strive for an inclusive environment at our events."

In a statement issued later Tuesday, International Speedway Corp. president John Saunders echoed NASCAR’s stand.

"We join NASCAR in support of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s position on the Confederate Flag," Saunders said. "ISC strives to ensure all fans are welcome to enjoy our events and maintains an inclusive environment at our facilities nationwide. ISC will continue our long-standing practice to prohibit the sale of Confederate flag material on our property."

ISC, which owns and/or operates 13 of the nation’s premier motorsports entertainment facilities, is a publicly traded company whose majority of stock is owned by the NASCAR-controlling France family.

Though not nearly as prevalent as in decades past, Confederate flags continue to be seen hanging from the RVs and motorhomes of some fans at NASCAR events, most often those held at tracks in the Southeast.