Commentary by Frank Gillispie
Brian France, boss of NASCAR, continues his efforts to turn his back on the people who drove his organization into a billion dollar business. He told correspondent Lesley Stahl on 60 Minutes last Sunday, “It’s not a flag that I look at with anything favorable. That’s for sure,” France added that he cannot tell people what flag to fly but that he does not encourage the battle flag.
France‘s reason for turning his back on his organization‘s Southern Culture is to promote racing to minorities. “(Reaching out to minorities) is something I work on every day. I work on it personally …” he said.
In fact, Confederate emblems are already forbidden from display anywhere NASCAR has control.
"Any area that NASCAR controls at the racetrack, you will never see the Confederate flag," said NASCAR diversity director Tish Sheets in a recent interview. "It is not allowed on race cars, driver uniforms, in the garage area or on any NASCAR-licensed product."
That was made clear several years ago when the Sons of Confederate Veterans budget funds to sponsor a car. NASCAR refused to allow the sponsorship even though several teams were struggling to stay in existence.
Now, we in the Southern movement are accustomed to being attacked by people outside the South. The poor souls have been misled, miseducated and misdirected into believing that all things Southern are evil. We are doing everything we can to bring them the truth. But when it is one of our own who is betraying us, well, that is truly painful. We have a name for people like that. We call them scalawags.
Brian France is the biggest scalawag of all times. He knows better. But he is so blinded by greed for money and power, he willingly turns his back on his own culture in pursuit of ever greater wealth.
His betrayal of the South brings to mind a quote from the Bible: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul.” NASCAR once stood as a major component of the soul of the south. But no more.
So what should we do about it? Two strong proposals appear to be developing in the Southern movement. First is a total boycott of NASCAR. They are urging Southerners not to spend a dime on any NASCAR products. That includes tickets, tags, calendars, model cars, clothing or anything else with a connection to NASCAR, its races, drivers or sponsors.
The other idea is to start a new racing circuit. It would be called Dixie Racing League, Southern Racing League or some other appropriate name. There would be several rules: all races will occur within the fifteen Southern states. The cars must be true stock cars. Every car will have to be purchased from a dealer’s showroom then modified as needed to achieve speed and safety. And finally the Confederate Battle Flag would be the official emblem for the league. Every car would be required to carry a battle flag decal in a prominent position.
Either or both of these ideas would have an impact on NASCAR’s future profitability. Once they understand that losing their base will put their entire business at risk, they will be forced to reconsider their anti South stance.
Meanwhile, the South is full of small and medium sized tracks where you can find people who race for the love of the sport almost any weekend. We do not need the big money back stabbers to enjoy this most Southern of all sports. Let NASCAR go wherever they want to go. Just give your money and support to those local drivers who deserve it.