The group that flew a plane towing a banner that read “Defund NASCAR” is from Columbia, Tennessee.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans claimed responsibility for the banner saying they hired the plane that flew over Talladega Superspeedway this past weekend. NASCAR recently banned the display of the confederate flag from its properties. And while a limited number of fans were in attendance Sunday, and Monday, there were no reports of the flag being displayed inside track property. There were however a small number (les than 10) vehicles who drove by the property displaying the flag, along with a vender or private property across the street displaying the flags for sale alongside the American flag and TRUMP flags.
The plane and the banner were the only visible signs of the flag over the actual track.
“NASCAR’s banning the display of the Confederate battle flag by its fans is nothing less than trampling upon Southerners’ First Amendment Right of free expression,” Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander in Chief Paul C. Gramling Jr. told the Columbia Daily Herald. “This un-American act shall not go unchallenged. [On Sunday], members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Confederate Air Force displayed its disapproval of NASCAR’s trampling upon the First Amendment Rights of Southerners. During and before the start of the NASCAR race in Talladega, Alabama, race, our plane flew a banner announcing a drive to ‘defund NASCAR.’
“It is the hope of the Sons of Confederate Veterans that NASCAR fans will be allowed the fundamental American right of displaying pride in their family and heritage. The Sons of Confederate Veterans is proud of the diversity of the Confederate military and our modern Southland. We believe NASCAR’s slandering of our Southern heritage only further divides our nation. The Sons of Confederate Veterans will continue to defend not only our right but the Right of all Americans to celebrate their heritage. We trust NASCAR will do the same.”
Grambling told the paper that the flyover was funded through the group’s private donors.
“What NASCAR did was a slap in the face to fans who made the sport what it is,” Gramling said. “They don’t know how upset they’ve made people with this decision. I really don’t care what NASCAR thinks about what we did. It’s the least of my concerns.”
Gramling said the group might fly the banner over more NASCAR races this season. He said supporters loved the idea and reacted with excitement after watching it on television.
“We’ve had quite a bit of reaction,” Gramling said. “It’s been very well received by everyone except NASCAR. This is the hottest, quickest thing we’ve done to raise awareness of flag issues and to get a strong reaction in quite a while.”
For its part NASCAR never acknowledged the flyover. NASCAR’s executive vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell tweeted a picture Sunday of Black and White hands shaking: “You won’t see a photo of a jackass flying a flag over the track here … but you will see this … Hope EVERYONE enjoys the race today.”