Bubba Wallace wants to make it clear that he doesn’t believe that all NASCAR fans are racist and neither should you.
Wallace made an appearance on Thursday night’s episode of Desus & Mero and had a wide-ranging interview with the hosts about his career and his role in NASCAR’s efforts to ban the Confederate flag. NASCAR banned the flag on June 10, the same day Wallace drove a car supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at Martinsville.
"We always want to pay attention to the negative, but the narrative that's been out there now is saying all NASCAR fans are racist, and whatnot, and that's totally not true,” Wallace told the hosts. “I've gone down ... in the infield at Talladega, wherever it's at, Daytona, Texas, Michigan, and I never knew if people were flying the Confederate flag. We would go there and drink beer, have a good time and hang out. It wasn't like they don't want you there."
Wallace, the only Black driver racing full-time in NASCAR, had been in discussions with NASCAR executives about a flag ban in the days before the announcement. It came two days after Wallace said on CNN that he thought the flag should be prohibited at NASCAR tracks.
He is, however, well aware that his infield-traveling habits may have to change going forward because of his push to ban the flag. Wallace said in June that he can no longer be the “that happy go-lucky guy” that randomly goes to the infield to hang out with fans once NASCAR starts allowing infield access at its tracks again.
Wallace has been clear that his desire to ban the flag came in the quest for more inclusivity at races. NASCAR recognized that and has repeatedly stated its desire for a more inclusive environment at its events.
Wednesday night’s All-Star Race — where Wallace got crashed out by Michael McDowell in a qualifying race — was the first time a significant number of fans were allowed at a race since the flag ban as Bristol Motor Speedway sold thousands of tickets to the exhibition.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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