You want politics out of NASCAR? It has to be all or nothing.

It felt gross typing that, honestly. Just flat out nasty. How is that so? Well, for one, in a normal year there would be more of a chance to write and talk about the NASCAR Playoffs, who is in and who is out, who looks the strongest, so on and so on. But instead, we still have to talk about ideological issues in the sport of NASCAR.

When Bubba Wallace began speaking up as a person of color, it set in motion the greatest paradigm shift in a sport that has received years of flak for being predominantly white and predominantly male. Wallace saw his chance to use his platform as a person of color to help push awareness of the systemic racism which plagues America. Of course; he’s a human being who has been vocal on what it’s like to be profiled as a black person in America. This in the face of a constant stream of brutality and racism, and the fact that he put his best foot forward did not go unnoticed.

While it brought eyes onto the sport in a positive manner, it also disrupted and angered those who just wanted to keep to the status quo. Due to that, the anger came pouring in. Go on Facebook or Twitter on any NASCAR account and there’s undoubtedly going to be countless posters quick to swipe at Wallace for “bringing politics into NASCAR” and denouncing Wallace following Talladega where his team found that the pull chord to the door at his garage stall was fashioned into a noose even if the topic has nothing to do with Wallace.

Somehow, these are people who believe that the ethical treatment of black people and the call to admonish acts of racism and unwarranted police brutality is somehow “political.” That in itself is a thought process that takes Olympic-level mental gymnastics. These are people who say they aren’t racist because they have “one black friend,” yet they are quick to downplay the plight of a black man or woman because they’ve never experienced that plight themselves. Even if they truly aren’t racist, they’re still operating on an unconscious bias and that’s not okay.

Please explain how any of the above is political, then explain why it’s okay for GoFas Racing to run a Trump 2020 car or Tim Viens to make an appearance in a Trump 2020 rap video (WARNING: High cringe factor). Explain why it’s okay that the Daytona 500 this year was briefly turned into a Trump rally? That’s politics, isn’t it? The president of the United States isn’t a God or a King, but just another man employed as a politician, right? If the leap can be made to explain why Trump making appearances in 2020 is okay while Bubba Wallace becoming a BLM advocate isn’t, well, the comment section is below.

We live in a divided time, and suffice to say, we need to be united. Calling for violence against those with differing political ideologies isn’t a uniting tactic. Blaming the problems that we’re facing as a country on those with differing political ideologies isn’t a uniting tactic. In all honesty that only adds to the problem. One look at all the cries of violence toward those of a different skin color or religion or creed on social media is all the proof you need.

Instead, taking a stand to speak out on the injustices made on fellow Americans and calling for a change isn’t a political matter. Therefore, it is a uniting matter. Becoming an ally, a voice for the voiceless, that’s a humanitarian thing. That’s base human ethics. Just because a politician condemns it to their base doesn’t make it any less so. How is that? Well, simple. Politicians are humans just like the rest of us.

When it comes down to it, it isn’t human or ethical or Christ-like to demean a human being because of their skin color. It’s a political thing, sure, depending on the politician in question. In that case, wouldn’t it be prudent to remove all mention of that politician from the sport if “politics in NASCAR” is truly ruining the sport? In a word, yes. But is it going to happen? No, because teams are privately owned and the choice to run a political campaign on a car or a politically aligned affiliation such as the National Rifle Association is really up to the team owner.

So if it’s okay for the owners to run a politically based scheme on their teams, it’d make sense for another team to endorse a humanitarian scheme if it’s something they truly back, right? Right. There are those on social media who think Richard Petty and company need to fire Wallace; they don’t realize that when the racism in the garage was more blatant and prevalent, Petty was one of Wendell Scott’s biggest advocates. This is the same Scott who is the only black man in the NASCAR Hall of Fame, in case there’s any questions. Petty has seen what hate looks like and has stared down inequality through the years in the NASCAR garage; few people in NASCAR are as qualified to speak on it as Petty. So if Petty thinks the case in legitimate when it comes to Wallace, it probably is.

I’d like to get back to writing about how Wallace’s quiet consistency on the track is netting him a career-high season so far, and I’d love to get back to discussing the merits of the 2020 Silly Season. I’d love to talk about my newfound love of the FIA Formula E series. But as long as ignorant people continue to take ignorant stances and whitewash the inequality problem we have as Americans, and as long as people continue to assert that some people shouldn’t have basic rights including the right to be treated with dignity, then it looks like it’ll continue to be a topic to be written on. Inequality and divisiveness aren’t going to go away just by being ignored. For that matter, they’re not going to even be tolerated. Nobody has the right to dehumanize anyone else.

In closing, you say you want politics out of NASCAR? Then take the stand and make the moves to take politicians out of NASCAR. Ethical matters aren’t political matters.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Joseph Shelton
Joseph Shelton
Husband to Stacie and Daddy to Dexter, Aeris, Meredith, and furbabies Lola,Tiny, Lucy, Genesis, Lily, Tommy The Cat, and Ace. Ardent race fan and serious Braves baseball lover.


  1. I’ll step right up and do some mental gymnastics with you.

    Let’s start with the noose. I have no ax to grind with Bubba, he was told what he was told (he was lied to) and seemingly reacted appropriately to that. I do have a major problem with Steve Phelps jumping to obviously ridiculous conclusions over it. I have a problem with his first thought being it must have been a racist act. I have a problem with him coming to the immediate conclusion that someone working in the NASCAR garage in 2020 is such an overt racist that they would commit said racist act. I have a problem with Mr Phelps lack of apology to all who work in the garage for making such a vile accusation that was almost immediately found to be absolutely not true. I have a problem with Mr Phelps wasting the time of 15 FBI agents to come in to investigate something that should have been resolved within an hour or 2 by a few people with half a brain already working for NASCAR. I further have a problem with anyone who sees a noose and immediately connects that to some sort of racism, those people merely need to look into the mirror to find the racist they seek. It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to connect a noose with Halloween. It does not require Colombo to connect Halloween with October. And apparently Steve Phelps was unable to connect Talledega with a race in October. As a fan, I am still waiting on that apology. (yeah right)

    “Somehow, these are people who believe that the ethical treatment of black people and the call to admonish acts of racism and unwarranted police brutality is somehow “political.” ” It went political when BLM INC became involved. That is a VERY political organization with some VERY anti-American views for all to see on their website. I strongly encourage EVERYONE to visit their website and judge for yourself. Further, if you should like to donate to this fine organization, it will link you directly to “ACTBLUE” which is coincidentally the same landing you will come to if you want to donate to the DNC. Last I knew the DNC was a political party. Those of us who believe in the ideals you express (99% of people) have been victims of things turning political. While some in the media may wish to paint the “politics” problem as being caused by some mythical hayseed ignorant cross burning noose hanging hillbilly, it seems quite obvious the “politics” problem starts with the Marxists at BLM.

    Let’s talk about sponsorship’s and politics. Start with who BLM is. Again, I encourage everyone to visit their website and judge for yourself. READ what they say in their own words, don’t project what you think they are. I see them as just another Marxist hate group that has tried to camouflage itself behind a worthy cause. Should we let a different 3 letter hate group advertise in NASCAR? I reject them all and feel they have no place in NASCAR. On the other hand, politicians have been advertising at racing events for generations. Why should it suddenly be taboo? The Biden campaign is welcome to make a buy, I am sure there are teams begging for the support.

    I missed when the Daytona 500 became a Trump rally. I just watched the President’s remarks again and it was 3 minutes of pure patriotism and praise of our country. Many NASCAR fans love our President and he got a lot of cheers, yet you demean that like it’s a bad thing. Sounds a bit divisive to me.

    It seems your whole theme in this article is those who reject BLM INC also reject any sort of justice for the black community or any desire to see improvement. You can’t be further from the truth. I care deeply about the 8 year old child gunned down in Akron last month by gang violence at a teenagers birthday party. LeBron’s home town and crickets from him. I am horrified when in a single weekend in Chicago in June a 3 yr old is murdered along with 4 teens and 103 shot. Do we get so much as a moment of silence from the NBA about it? This horrific violence goes on week after week, yet BLM doesn’t even say one word about it. But if the police make a mistake with people who are resisting arrest, we must have a national discussion, we must have riots, we must have justice. Why aren’t we allowed to talk about this glaring hypocrisy? I am down with the cause, except I want to save 3 yr olds and 8 yr olds, BLM seems to favor others.

    One final thought for now. Social media. I do not understand the fascination so many reporters have with the cesspool of social media. You may as well read the comments section after a CNN or FOX article. Why does it mean anything to you as a journalist that some anonymous jerkweed says something hateful about anything? Stop even looking at that nonsense, most real people do not act that way. If the world was twitter, we would have brawls breaking out everywhere. Somehow journalists were able to connect with people long before social media came along. How about you try some old school methods for once and ignore the false “reality” of social media.

  2. But is it going to happen? No, because teams are privately owned and the choice to run a political campaign on a car or a politically aligned affiliation such as the National Rifle Association is really up to the team owner.”

    Unless things have changed, NASCAR has the final approval for the graphics, or paint schemes before the car can go out on the track. There was a time when NASCAR did not allow hard liquor to be advertised on cars.


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