NASCAR bans Confederate flag from its races and properties

AP photo by Terry Renna / A Confederate flag flies in the infield before a NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Sept. 5, 2015, at South Carolina's Darlington Raceway.

For more than 70 years, the Confederate flag has been a familiar sight at NASCAR races. Through the civil rights era and even at February's Daytona 500 to open the current Cup Series season, the flag dotted infield campsites and was waved in grandstands by stock car racing fans young and old.

As the nation comes to grips with race relations in the wake of the death of George Floyd, NASCAR finally decided it was to fully cut any ties to a flag from which it had tried to distance itself in recent years.

NASCAR banned the flag at its races and all its venues Wednesday, a dramatic step by a series steeped in Southern tradition and proud of its good old boy roots that include moonshine running. It must now hope to convince some of its most ardent fans that it is truly time to leave the flag at home, leave those T-shirts in the drawer, scrape off the bumper stickers and hit the track without a trace of the longtime symbol to many of racism and slavery.