The North Carolina short track opened for the first time since 2019 with a soldout crowd
Officials at Bowman Gray Stadium have apologized for a Confederate flag reaching their track. The flag is in violation of NASCAR policy which banned the flag from track properties.
Bowman Gray Stadium is a 1/4-mile asphalt oval. The track is located on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Winston Salem, North Carolina.
Over the weekend, the track opened the gates for the first time since August 2019. Fans packed the grandstands with a soldout crowd of 13,000.
A decal of the flag was inside Lee Stimpson’s car on Saturday night.
“It will not happen again,” Gray Garrison, told JournalNow.
“We must have just flat-out missed it, so we did miss it, and we apologize and will talk with (Stimpson) about that,” Garrison added.
He added, “We had a couple of drivers who had what looked like a Confederate flag blending into an American flag, and we asked them to cover them up or take them off the car,” Garrison said. “We are very consistent with that policy, and our drivers know it.”
Last year, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from all NASCAR tracks and properties. That includes their Home Track sanctioned events and properties.
Lee Stimpson comments on the Confederate flag
Stimpson drives the No. 45 in the Modified. He raced in the Hayes Jewelers 200 on Saturday.
“When you aren’t around, you get behind,” Stimpson explained.
“I put that (decal) in there probably 10 or 12 years ago and I don’t run hardly at all anymore over there, and if somebody would have come over to me and said to get that out of there I would have addressed the situation.”
The driver visited the track for practice last week. He then passed the tech line for qualifying on Saturday.
“Gray and them have been super, super good to me and my family,” Stimpson added.
“And if I would have known this would have given them some bad press, that’s the last thing I would want to do. They are good people and I would hate for something I did would give them some bad press. I’m not making any excuses, but I wish somebody would have come over and said, ‘You need to do something about that.’”
“I understand that about the rules and I know that Gray has to answer to somebody, too, and they are a NASCAR-sanctioned track. I have no hard feelings toward Bowman Gray and I hate that it slipped through the cracks like that.”
Stimpson stated that he has plans to return to the speedway.
“Absolutely I will not have it on there,” he said.
Stimpson finished 21st following a broken rear-end and was awarded $300 for his efforts.
Ben Rowe comments on the Confederate flag at Bowman Gray Stadium
The bullring track is operated and owned by the City of Winston-Salem. The track or country doesn’t have a rule against the flag. However, the sanction does.
“It was simply an oversight because that’s not something that is allowed to be displayed during races,” said Ben Rowe, a city manager who was at the track.
“We go by the rules at the track that are set forth by NASCAR and WSSI (Winston-Salem Speedway Inc.), and we support those rules,” Rowe said.