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Ray Ciccarelli leaving NASCAR after sport banned Confederate flag at its events

"I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist," Ray Ciccarelli said.
Ray Ciccarell during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series TruNorth Global 250 race in Martinsville, Va., on March 22, 2019.
Ray Ciccarell during practice for the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series TruNorth Global 250 race in Martinsville, Va., on March 22, 2019.Nigel Kinrade / NKP via AP

Ray Ciccarelli said Wednesday he will quit NASCAR at the end of the season after the sport announced it would ban Confederate flags at its events.

Ciccarelli, a Truck Series driver, wrote on Facebook it has "been a fun ride and dream come true" but if this is the direction NASCAR is headed, he will not participate after the 2020 season is over.

He said he does not believe in kneeling during the national anthem or "taken people right to fly what ever flag they love."

"I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist," he said.

All NASCAR is doing, he wrote, is "f------ one group to cater to another." He added, "and I ain't spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!!"

The issue was pushed to the fore this week by Bubba Wallace Jr., the only African American driver in NASCAR's top series. Wallace, whose real name is Darrell, called for the banishment of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events on Monday and said there was "no place" for it in the sport.

Bubba Wallace wears a "I Can't Breathe - Black Lives Matter" T-shirt under his fire suit in solidarity with protesters around the world during the national anthem prior to the NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on June 7, 2020 in Hampton, Ga.Chris Graythen / Getty Images

NASCAR announced the ban in a statement posted to its Twitter account before Wednesday night's race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, where Wallace was driving a Chevrolet emblazoned with #BlackLivesMatter.

"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors, and our industry," the statement said.

The display of the Confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties, it also said.

Wallace wore a black T-shirt with the words "I Can't Breathe/Black Lives Matter" before the race — just as he did at Sunday's race. His Chevy had "Compassion, love, understanding" written on the hood. Wallace said this week that no one should feel uncomfortable when they attend a NASCAR event.

Wallace told the "TODAY" show Thursday he has seen too many comments and stories from first-time fans that come to a NASCAR race who say they have seen the Confederate flag flying and it made them feel uncomfortable.

"It's not a race thing. It's about walking into an event and feeling uncomfortable," he said. "That's it. If you felt uncomfortable, you would want change. So, I'm speaking out for the people that show up to the race track and feel that type of way."

Wallace said he was baffled by Ciccarelli's response to NASCAR's decision.

"I think he just solidified his career and no longer being a part of NASCAR," Wallace said. "I would encourage NASCAR to really step up and look at that if he tries to reinstate."