Mike Fulp, owner of half-mile 311 Speedway in Pine Hall, had written Wednesday on Facebook Marketplace: “Buy your Bubba Rope today for only $9.99 each, they come with a lifetime warranty and work great.”
The dirt track advertised a series of “America We Stand” races for Saturday night, with Fulp writing on Facebook that Confederate and Trump flags and caps and American and Christian flags for what he originally called “Heritage Night” would be on sale. Fans were reminded, “don’t forget your 2nd Amendment Right, 311 Speedway,” according to the Associated Press.
Fulp removed the posts after criticism last week, but Saturday’s races and promotion at the track that calls itself “The Daytona of Dirt” were canceled. “I’ve lost all but two of my sponsors,” Fulp told the Greensboro News & Record. “I’m responsible. I’m responsible for trying to make some jokes, but the world is mad as hell right now.”
The Carolina Sprint Tour announced Friday that it would skip 311 Speedway for the rest of the season and was looking for new venues for its July 25 and Sept. 26 races, noting that “2020 has been a year to test us all.”
“We do not condone nor support the comments and posts that have been made the past week. We will not put our sponsors, IMCA Racing, series, drivers, teams, owners, fans or families in a negative light such as what’s happened recently,” its statement said.
Fulp changed the name of “Heritage Night,” which had been a response to NASCAR’s decision to ban the Confederate battle flag from races. But the controversy brought attention to his other, now-deleted Facebook posts.
“I received death threats this week, all week long,” Fulp said. “People called and left messages, threatening me, threatening my mama, threatening my granddaughter. My girlfriend got threats. My employees got harassed. I had seven employees quit.”
Loflin Concrete of Kernersville “cut all ties” with the track.
“Standing for what you believe is often different than being known for what you are against,” it announced. “Sometimes just being against something in principle or belief is just not enough. Words must lead to action sometimes. This is one of those times. We have cut all ties with 311 speedway.”
A spokesman for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) condemned Fulp’s remarks. “This incident of racism is horrific and shameful,” Ford Porter wrote in an email to RockinghamNow.com. “North Carolina is better than this.”
Fulp told the News & Record that he is “not a racist” and was “trying to be funny, trying to make jokes” because there is a Bubba Rope synthetic line of winches that he says he sells. He said that by pointing out the connection between his post and the noose found in Wallace’s garage, his critics “took a joke and made it racial.”
On June 21, a noose was found in the Talladega garage stall occupied by Wallace’s team. An FBI investigation determined the rope had been there since October and Wallace was not specifically targeted, but the incident prompted a discussion about race, particularly in a sport that has had only two black drivers racing full time in its top-tier series. The incident came at a time of heightened tension, unrest and polarization over systemic racism and the police-involved killings of unarmed African Americans. It was only earlier this month that NASCAR, at Wallace’s urging, banned the Confederate flag. A group of fans waved the Confederate flag outside Talladega last week, and a plane flew over the Alabama track, trailing the flag.
“With me doing this, they have to know the bigger picture of everything. It’s not about racing. It’s about race,” Wallace said on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” last week. “So ever since having that voice and being vocal about it and coming out and standing my ground, to helping NASCAR paint a new picture for the sport and for the next generation to see and latch on to, getting rid of the Confederate flag, I knew, like: ‘All right; roll the sleeves up. It’s about to be tough.’ ”
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