It’s not surprising to find NASCAR fans, owners, and pit crews are all-in for patriotism.
They won’t be taking a knee like some players in the NFL and NBA.
They see that as disrespecting the flag, the country, and those who love it.
Their support for Trump and disgust at athletes who kneel could be predicted by anyone who understood America’s cultural divide and who stood on either side of it.
Pres. Trump is deliberately driving that cultural divide as a wedge issue, much as Pres. Nixon and Vice President Agnew did during the Vietnam War. (Pres. Obama did, too, when he reflexively sided with Skip Gates against the “stupid” Cambridge police. Obama did not usually try to raise the profile of those divisions, but his policies–and the electoral disappointment of his constituencies–is the backdrop of our current turmoil.)
Here’s the report in USA Today, headlined NASCAR owners side with Trump, take firm stance against anthem protests
“Get you a ride on a Greyhound bus when the national anthem is over,” team owner Richard Childress responded when asked what he would do if one of his employees protested during the anthem. “I told them anyone who works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people have gave their lives for it. This is America.”
Team owner Richard Petty, who won a record-tying seven championships as a driver, said he would fire any employee that didn’t stand for the anthem.
“Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the country. Period,” Petty said. “If they don’t appreciate where they’re at … what got them where they’re at? The United States.” –USA Today
Where’s the Irony, You Ask?
The irony lies in NASCAR’s origins–running from the law and making a game of it.
Just as jousting was a way for knights to show off and have fun while practicing their work-a-day skills, so NASCAR began with moonshine runners–drivers who sped across the back roads of Appalachia with a car full of homemade whiskey.
Who was chasing them? “Revenuers.” The federal government imposes a tax on whiskey, and the folks who distilled white lightning had no intention of paying it.
They hid their stills deep in the woods, in back hollers where outsiders were not welcome.
h, but they still had to get the hooch from the still to the customers in town. That’s where the fast drivers came in.
Their whiskey-runner occasionally staged informal races to see who was best. Those evolved into track races and eventually NASCAR.
They probably didn’t see any contraction between saluting the flag and telling the lawman to go to hell.
But lots of us taste a swig of irony.