Restricted Confederate battle flag continues to wave for Talladega fans

Andersonh1

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"It's not hard to find the Confederate battle flag at Talladega Superspeedway.

Even on Wednesday – before the campgrounds filled with thousands of race fans for this weekend's NASCAR action – the flag could be seen flying, flapping in the wind outside motorhomes and prominently displayed by nearby vendors who also stocked plenty of Confederate-themed merchandise.

While the flag continues to stir controversy as a symbol of hatred, AL.com talked to race fans flying the flag, and virtually all of them said they don't consider it a symbol of hatred or racial divisiveness.

"Southern heritage," replied Robert Ogletree, from Shreveport, La., when asked why he's flying a Confederate battle flag. "It's a part of our history. Our history is the Civil War. End of story."

Mark Smith, Ogletree's friend from New Jersey, said he planted the Confederate battle flags as the campsite and said he flies them to honor Southern friends, whom he considers family. He insisted flying the flags is not intended as a hateful gesture.

"I don't hate nobody," Smith said.

The Confederate battle flag has been used by the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

Flag supporters – including many in the Talladega campgrounds – say it represents the South's heritage and culture and serves as a memorial to Civil War soldiers who died in battle.

In July 2015, NASCAR released a statement concerning the Confederate battle flag and asked fans "to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events. We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols."

Visit Talladega this week and it's clear the battle flag remains near and dear for many NASCAR fans.

Larry Estes, a longtime Talladega fan from Martinsville, Virginia, said he sees the Confederate battle flag prominently displayed when he attends NASCAR Sprint Cup events in Bristol (Tenn.), Martinsville (Va.) and Richmond (Va.). Talladega isn't an outlier, he said, when it comes to NASCAR fans embracing the Confederate battle flag."

Read the rest of the article here: http://www.al.com/news/birmingham/index.ssf/2016/10/heritage_or_hate_confederate_b.html
 

MattL

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Nothing wrong with that, good for them...

Well maybe except NASCAR asking them not to, but not sure on their official policy regarding that and rules, etc, that's between NASCAR, the venues, and the fans I guess.

There's no contradiction between it being a symbol of pride for some and a symbol of hate for others, both can be equally valid.
 

Desert Kid

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Nothing wrong with that, good for them...

Well maybe except NASCAR asking them not to, but not sure on their official policy regarding that and rules, etc, that's between NASCAR, the venues, and the fans I guess.

There's no contradiction between it being a symbol of pride for some and a symbol of hate for others, both can be equally valid.

Once upon a time, NASCAR used to have a bit more hutzpah about this.

But that was back before Brian France took over the company.

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Once upon a time, NASCAR used to have a bit more hutzpah about this.

But that was back before Brian France took over the company.

And back before NASCAR expanded into a number of different states expanding their racing schedule, back before they nationally televised the races, back before they took on national corporate sponsors and back before they decided to grow their fan base.
 

Andersonh1

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NASCAR's attendance and TV ratings are down and still declining. I'm sure there are a number of reasons for that, but surely the fact that it doesn't feel like the good old fun Southern Saturday at the racetrack is one of those.

http://awfulannouncing.com/2016/thr...es-of-the-season-nascar-ratings-are-down.html

http://www.nationalreview.com/artic...ate-flag-nascar-fans-rebel-shubhankar-chhokra

Some fans lambasted NASCAR for endorsing a cause in vogue for a little over a week at the expense of sixty years of strong Southern heritage and a long track record of valuing individual liberties. Lifelong racing fan Larry Reeves, who has flown the Confederate flag at races for 30 years, told the Associated Press, “My family is from Alabama and we’ve been going to Talladega forever. It isn’t a Confederate thing so much as it is a NASCAR thing. That’s why I fly it.”

When NASCAR executives released a statement applauding South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s push to take down the flag from capitol grounds, the organization said it “recognizes that freedom of expression is an inherent right of all citizens.” But recognizing this freedom seems ancillary to the organization’s intention to move beyond its close association with the South.

Confederate flags were among those flying at the Coke Zero 400 race. NASCAR’s heritage is intertwined with a strand of especially independent southern culture, though not the Confederacy in any way. The organization started in 1948 in Daytona Beach, Fla., to organize races for “runners,” drivers that outsped and outmaneuvered federal tax collectors in order to bring bootleg moonshine from Appalachia to customers in the South.

Early officials cleared farmland to build a track, and spectators — many no doubt tipping back tax-free moonshine — flocked to the races. Soon enough, NASCAR was a staple of the rural South, a status it retains today. The organization has been building across the country in recent years, but around half of the tracks in the current NASCAR Sprint Cup Series – Daytona among them — are in southern states. A plurality of NASCAR fans (40 percent) hail from the South.
 

Desert Kid

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And back before NASCAR expanded into a number of different states expanding their racing schedule, back before they nationally televised the races, back before they took on national corporate sponsors and back before they decided to grow their fan base.

Since NASCAR's peak in the late 90's-early 2000's it has been slowly alienating much of it's own fanbase.

Have you seen the stands on Sundays? Phony cautions? Gerrymandered points system? NASCAR hasn't been NASCAR for a long time, just a cheap knockoff of it's old self.
 
Since NASCAR's peak in the late 90's-early 2000's it has been slowly alienating much of it's own fanbase.

Have you seen the stands on Sundays? Phony cautions? Gerrymandered points system? NASCAR hasn't been NASCAR for a long time, just a cheap knockoff of it's old self.

Oh I agree, just as most major pro sports are taking a hit in both attendance and television viewers. It's the same old story - the powers in charge frequently take something that works and is successful and try to improve it. In doing so, they usually ruin it.
 

MattL

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Interesting, thanks for sharing.

I would caution for explaining the decline based purely on anecdotal things however. There may indeed be some truth to that, though times change, peoples interests change. It may purely be that a newer generation of people have less interest in it, there's new technology, new sports, new activities, etc. Basically there are different things available to what group of young people would have been NASCAR fans, the shift may have mostly nothing to do with cases given. In fact causation can sometimes run different ways, maybe there was a natural decline due to different factors and their changes are a failed attempt to stem the tide.

No opinion on it myself, just I'm always cautious about anecdotes being applied to an entire form of entertainment and it's fanbase. My wife grew up in Utah amongst a large portion of NASCAR fans, though they had no allegiance or heritage tied to the Confederate flag (in fact most of her ancestors immigrated to Utah in the mid 1800s or were early Mormons mostly coming from the North).
 

Old_Glory

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While the flag continues to stir controversy as a symbol of hatred, AL.com talked to race fans flying the flag, and virtually all of them said they don't consider it a symbol of hatred or racial divisiveness.

Good to hear!

There is a great amount of hate surrounding the Confederate Battle Flag, but it's mostly from the people that oppose it. Bigotry looks horrible on anyone, even those who think they are self righteous in their fairy tale virtues.

A failure to pluck the log out of one's own eye before seeing clearly.
 

RobertP

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And back before NASCAR expanded into a number of different states expanding their racing schedule, back before they nationally televised the races, back before they took on national corporate sponsors and back before they decided to grow their fan base.
That didn't stop CBS from featuring the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard during the 1980's. It was a harmless show that could never be made now because of . . . nope won't go there.
 

RobertP

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Since NASCAR's peak in the late 90's-early 2000's it has been slowly alienating much of it's own fanbase.

Have you seen the stands on Sundays? Phony cautions? Gerrymandered points system? NASCAR hasn't been NASCAR for a long time, just a cheap knockoff of it's old self.
Back in the day NASCAR stock cars were actually modified stock cars. All had factory engines and factory bodies and that made it interesting. The motto was win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Now the rules are so strict that all the cars look alike and run alike. Makes for close races but not much else.
 

Desert Kid

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Back in the day NASCAR stock cars were actually modified stock cars. All had factory engines and factory bodies and that made it interesting. The motto was win on Sunday, sell on Monday. Now the rules are so strict that all the cars look alike and run alike. Makes for close races but not much else.

That's what we get for living in the Hybrid Generation.
 

Allie

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I know the stereotype of a Nascar fan (in fact my husband has a niece and nephew named Dale and Danika) but know basically nothing else about it. So, question: how many black Nascar fans are there? Are there any black drivers?
 

RobertP

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That's what we get for living in the Hybrid Generation.
I'm a car guy and was at a show last weekend that had a lot of younger guys with their cars. I got into a conversation with one about hybrids and pure electrics and believe that within 15 years they will have a huge share of the market. They can be very appealing but battery tech needs to advance further, which it will. Surprising how fast they can be with the instant max torque an electric motor gives you.
 

Desert Kid

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I'm a car guy and was at a show last weekend that had a lot of younger guys with their cars. I got into a conversation with one about hybrids and pure electrics and believe that within 15 years they will have a huge share of the market. They can be very appealing but battery tech needs to advance further, which it will. Surprising how fast they can be with the instant max torque an electric motor gives you.

I may have come of age during this era.

But I remember when cars were brash, and bold, snazzy and had muscle.
 

MattL

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I may have come of age during this era.

But I remember when cars were brash, and bold, snazzy and had muscle.

For context I have a car with a 6.4 liter naturally aspirated engine, with that said all those things you listed at the end can easily be attributed to electric cars as well. The current hyper cars are a hybrid right now, they combine both to achieve even greater performance.
 
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