Darlington Raceway offering Confederate flag swap

Darlington Raceway offering Confederate flag swap

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - NASCAR and the confederate flag are two things that have gone hand in hand for decades here in the south, but this year, that's not the case.

Now, instead of having an infield full of rebel flags, the track wants a different kind of red white and blue.

As each truck or camper came into the raceway Friday, they were presented with a few questions and instructions. This year though, there was one more added to the list.

"We tell them, if they come with a Confederate flag, we ask them if they want to swap it out for an American flag," explained one of the workers at security gate 39A.

There is one problem though for the track that's trying to be more inclusive.

"So far, we haven't had anyone that wants to swap out a Confederate flag for an American flag," said the security guard.

"What's wrong with us being proud of our heritage, everybody else is proud of theirs.," asked Matt Cartledge, who is staying in the infield for the race.

Cartledge is one of the many fans who won't take the track up on its offer.

That doesn't mean he can fly his confederate flag though. He's been asked to take it down whenever cars are on the track.

"I think that's wrong, that's our heritage," He said. "You're in the heart of South Carolina, in Darlington, South Carolina. We're just supporting our heritage, we're proud of our southern heritage."

Over near the ticket booth, the defiance was just as strong.

"I see they are trying to be politically correct and keep certain groups happy, and I don't care," said Karen Altman, a race fan from Charleston.

"To me it's showing a lack of respect to all those souls that died," explained Woody Vinson.

Many say they have a right to wear and fly that flag, and believe NASCAR shouldn't say anything about it.

To them, that flag represents the two things they love the most; the south, and race day.

"It's part of my history," said Altman. "I'm not going to deny it."

There is no actual ban on confederate flags at the race, but the track is asking everyone take down their flags an hour or two before race time.

The folks we spoke with say, the second cars are done, their flags will go right back up.

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