By Erik Martin
DARKE COUNTY — Fans heading out to Eldora Speedway may want to leave their Confederate flags at home.
On July 2, a sizeable group of prominent race track owners issued a statement in which it requested that racing fans refrain from displaying the Confederate flag at their events.
The statement reads, “As members of the NASCAR industry, we join NASCAR in the desire to make our events among the most fan-friendly, welcoming environments in all of sports and entertainment.
“To do that, we are asking our fans and partners to join us in a renewed effort to create an all-inclusive, even more welcoming atmosphere for all who attend our events. This will include the request to refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events.
“We are committed to providing a welcoming atmosphere free of offensive symbols. This is an opportunity for NASCAR Nation to demonstrate its sense of mutual respect and acceptance for all who attend our events while collectively sharing the tremendous experience of NASCAR racing.”
One of the tracks listed includes Eldora Speedway of Rossburg, Ohio, owned by driver Tony Stewart’s Stewart-Haas Racing.
Eldora Speedway General Manager Roger Slack said the press release applies only to NASCAR events. The only NASCAR-sanctioned event held this season at the Eldora Speedway is the upcoming July 22 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series “Mud Summer Classic.”
Regarding the flag controversy, Slack said, “I don’t foresee it being an issue. I’ve been here for four years and I haven’t seen a Confederate flag in our campgrounds.”
Slack said that if a patron did display a Confederate flag on speedway grounds, a member of the staff would likely speak with them and encourage them to trade in their flag for a United States flag.
“We have U.S. flags on standby, and we’ll ask fans to take into consideration other fans by flying the U.S. flag instead,” he said.
If the patron refuses, Slack said, “We’ll deal with it on a case-by-case basis.”