Recently, the NFL has seen multiple players take a knee during the national anthem. After the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee, other players have decided to take a knee in protest and others have chosen to stay inside the locker room until after the anthem. However, one association has taken a stand against these kinds of protests. NASCAR drivers, pit crews, crew chiefs, families and fans continue to stand in honor of the flag.
Before the national anthem, the drivers along with their pit crew, crew chiefs and family members stand side-by-side on pit lane honoring the flag. Fans also rise and remove their hats in honor of the national anthem and the flag. While the national anthem is sung, everyone stands in silence as their attention is focused solely on the flag.
Various NASCAR members have voiced their opinions on the idea of taking a knee during the anthem. One such individual, Richard Petty, voiced his opinion on the situation.
According to the Associated Press (AP), Petty stated, “Anybody that don’t stand up for that ought to be out of the county. Period. If they don’t appreciate where they’re at…what got them where they’re at? The United States.”
Richard Petty started his racing career in 1958 after his 21st birthday and retired in 1992. With a record of 200 wins during his racing career and becoming a seven-time champion, Petty now owns Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) team along with Andrew M. Murstein and Medallion Financial. As an owner of RPM, he was asked if anyone on his team would be fired if they protested.
According to the AP, Petty said, “You’re right.”
Another individual, Richard Childress, has a similar opinion on the situation. The AP quotes Childress as saying, “It’ll get you a ride on a Greyhound bus” in regards to the protests.
Childress began his racing career in 1969 as a solo driver. He continued this way for 12 years before he began to focus more on ownership of a team and hire a full-time driver. He then become the owner of Richard Childress Racing (RCR). By 1998, the RCR team had achieved six championships and 61 Cup Series wins. Childress also became the first team owner to win championships in all three of NASCAR’s top touring series.
According to the AP, Childress told his team, “Anybody that works for me should respect the country we live in. So many people gave their lives for it. This is America.”
NASCAR is taking all protests towards the flag seriously. While other sports are allowing their players to take a knee or stay inside the locker room during the national anthem, NASCAR refuses to take part in such acts of protest. The drivers and those who work for NASCAR stand together side-by-side in honor of the U.S. flag and all that it represents.