ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — Ray Ciccarelli, a NASCAR driver from Ellicott City, has announced his plans to retire from racing following a decision from the sport to ban Confederate flags from its properties.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Ciccarelli called the move “political BS” and said he won’t continue racing after the 2020 season ends, CBS Sports reports.

“i don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love,” he wrote, according to CBS Sports. “I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn’t make them a racist all you are doing is f—ing one group to cater to another and i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!!”

Reached by phone Thursday afternoon, Ciccarelli, 50, told WJZ he had been planning to retire anyway but called the controversy the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“This was never about the flag,” he said. While he said he does not own or fly a Confederate flag, he said other fans do and it should be their decision about whether to fly it.

He plans to issue a full statement Friday.

On Wednesday, NASCAR announced it would prohibit the Confederate flag “from all NASCAR events and properties,” calling its presence “contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.”

His announcement has drawn criticism on Twitter, with some calling him a racist.

Tom Coale, the founder and host of the Elevate Maryland podcast, wrote on Twitter that, “As much as it hurts to see Ellicott City trashed alongside Ray Ciccarelli, it also provides an opportunity to consider how our community fosters and enables such attitudes.”

Bubba Wallace, the sport’s lone African American full-time driver, applauded NASCAR’s move, and on Wednesday night he raced in a car that had Black Lives Matter on it. The paint scheme was dedicated to “promoting racial equality,” Richard Petty Motorsports tweeted.

Read more from CBS News.

Comments (19)
  1. Marizzapan says:

    Wow, that’s suuuuuuch an intelligent move. End your career over the banning of a flag that represents losers of a war. Smart thinking or maybe just a reflection of who you really are and where you are in life. (Probably the latter.)

  2. michele says:

    Good for you! The confederate flag is not a racist representation but rather a symbol of pride for those who were born in the South, black or white.If we would all take a stand for what we believe is right, the world would be a better place

    1. knockout 614 says:

      Bull, that ignorant flag is waved proudly by racist morons. They need to ban that and all racist ass statues.

    2. knockout 614 says:

      Let the little racist prick go home and whine because his white power feelings got hurt.

    3. Donagain says:

      The so called Confederate flag was never adopted by the confederacy and never flew over any Confederate building .It’s a rectangularized version of the square part of a civil war battle flag brought back into popularity in the 40’s by the KKK Dixiecrats and in the 50’s by people opposed to school desegregation specifically and civil rights in general. If you want to preserve your history you should at least know it.

  3. Jim Russell says:

    When you pick racism over racin Ray then it’s adios and good riddabce to you bigot.

  4. SFK says:

    Then ban all political logos and flags, including Black Lives Matter, which actually is a corporation anyway. “Black Lives Matter donations go directly to a superpac called “ACT BLUE” that has given hundreds of millions to Democrats running for President.” “Black Lives Matter is LITERALLY a shell company for Democrats.” ~ Candace Owens

    1. Ira T says:

      A debunked conspiracy theory about Black Lives Matter, ActBlue, and Democrats can be traced to far-right message boards.
      Cool story Bruh… Try again.


      1. Frank says:

        actually if you donate to BLM the website redirects you to the actblue website.

  5. Chris Farmer says:

    Candace Owens is a discredited right wing Trump toady who spews conspiracy theories. Go Fund Me just shout her fundraising campaign down. BLM is totally open and when you click to donate you are informed about Act Blue, it is not any sort of secret. If people want to donate to the Dems, they are free too. Act Blue is very clear what it is and that it supports Democrats who agree w/ the BLM platform. No secret there, no conspiracy. Anyone who can read knows.

    The Confederate flag is that of a bunch of people who declared war on the United States of America & advocated slavery. They lost, get over it. This is the USA not the CSA. It is NOT appropriate nor is it a symbol of today’s south.

  6. busn691 says:

    I’m heartened by the fact that most people see this for what it is. You want to fly the confederate flag? then leave this isn’t your country. I mean…you’ve likely said the same about people flying flags of other countries. And before the racists say it’s about heritage….remember their heritage is one of subjugation and torture of their fellow man for wealth.

  7. Larry Espey says:

    The only places that flag belongs are in museums, private homes & legitimate Civil War reenactments. It has no place at a public event any more than a Nazi flag does. It has nothing to do with “southern pride” it is a symbol for racists that is offensive to most Americans. If NASCAR wants to ban it at their events, that is their right. If you don’t like it, there’s the door.

  8. Katie Miller says:

    If I git a hankering to sit on a hard uncomfortable seat in the swelterin’ heat to watch advertising go round and round I just go down to the laundromat & toss my junk mail in a dryer.

    Funny Walmart, Kmart, Target, Amazon & Ebay long ago banned the confederate flag and NASCAR folks got no problem shopping there LOL! If you are proud of where you are from, then wave an American flag or your state flag.

    The GOP battle cry is “Hillary lost get over it!”, well, hey y’all, the south lost and Lincoln done freed the slaves, git over it!

  9. American Guy says:

    LOL!!!!!!!!!!! guy here flew the traitor racist flag last 4th july- he woke up 5th july to find his pitbull hung w/ a noose in the tree in his front yard. I don’t approve of killing the dog and have no idea who done it but this area almost everyone is white but I bet he don’t fly it this year and if he does who knows what they’ll do but it is offensive to most everyone. I am American I fly the American flag

  10. Stephen Knifton says:

    you’ll be missed, whoever you are. chik-fil-a could use your services, however. fill out an online application.

  11. Bill Smiths says:

    I think we should ban BLM shirt because it’s racist….if it wasn’t it would say all lives matter. Nothing but a SCAM.

  12. Donagain says:

    He was toast anyway . He just wanted to hear his name on the news at least once before he quit.

  13. Rajinder says:

    The guy was a loser before this “With 32 races under his belt, the 50-year-old driver has never won a NASCAR race and has only one top-10 placement with an average finish of 24.8 in his career.”

    Hey dude maybe Jiffy lube is hiring?

    That flag is racist & offensive & is rightfully banned most everywhere. It is NOT racist to say “Black lives matter”, they do & saying it does not exclude other races. It would be racist to say “ONLY White lives matter”. I am brown, my life matters too, we all matter!

  14. Yahooooooooooooo says:

    Don’t let the door hit you on the butt on the way out your a nobody anyhow!!
    Of course NASCAR is racist- 1 black driver? There’s over 20 black NHL players and ice hockey’s one of the whitest sports there is LOL! Look at any NASCAR crowd-looks like a KKK rally

    This was a positive step – as whites will soon become a minority sports will have to appeal to more than just whites to survive.

    If your proud to be from the south that’s great but you are an American so wave that flag and not a pro slavery white nationalist one that belongs buried w/ the civil war dead traitors

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