While the Confederate flag often flies from vehicles of NASCAR fans, it’s not welcome on the field in an official capacity. Bubba Watson, who bought “General Lee,” the original car from the “Dukes of Hazzard” TV series, wanted to drive his new ride around the track for a parade lap when NASCAR comes to Phoenix International Raceway in March.
“NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Phoenix International Raceway officials discussed this and decided it was not in the best interest of our sport. The image of the Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive.”
Watson expressed his disappointment in a tweet, saying, “Sorry to say @nascar won’t let me drive The General Lee at the @PhoenixRaceway !!! #dreamcrushed.”
Asked for comment on Friday at the Northern Trust Open in L.A., he told the AP:
“The show was not racist. But I understand why people would get upset with the flag,” Watson said, adding that he’s “learned a lot about the history of the Confederate flag over the last few weeks.”
“Obviously, I don’t stand for the Confederate flag,” Watson said. “The Confederate flag was not used (in the show) for what people see it as today, so that’s sad. But NASCAR was built on moonshining, so the show was built on moonshining. I thought it was fun. I didn’t buy the car to get publicity; I bought it because I love it.”
Watson still plans to attend the race even if he can’t drive General Lee around the track. Question is, will he drive it there? Think of the publicity that would stir.
(Photo from the Phoenix Open)