How much does NASCAR love America?

In a hard-hitting photojournalism essay, Shane Morris surveys the landscape of American patriotism at NASCAR events.

It looks like the one thing NASCAR loves is disloyalty and betrayal, and maybe racism.


  1. Kanooni says

    You are right of course, but most of America (even the right wingers) don’t bother about NASCAR at all.

  2. mamba says

    Ever watch the movie “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”?

    Practically a documentary on their mentality. It’s SUPPOSED to be satire, but watching it I found it to be surprisingly on the nose. So yeah, seeing a sea of racist flags is not a surprise at all.

  3. hemidactylus says

    Formula One has a greater diversity of flags and a North American driver named Sergio Perez. There’s a delicious irony in that given the current xenophobic climate on our side of the border.

  4. microraptor says

    It takes a special kind of person to be entertained by cars driving in circles for two hours.

  5. unclefrogy says

    it is also true that most of those who display that flag would also declare that they are true american patriots and loyal as in american love it or leave it.

    uncle frogy

  6. stephensherrier says

    What is helpful to remember is that each element of disloyalty and betrayal in such a display is not created equal. Persons who set up such a display might claim loyalty to America, but they can scarcely claim that displays like this one constitute respectful acknowledgement of the Confederate dead. That the flag in question constitutes the Confederate Battle Flag is the last bastion of the defenders of that flag’s display, yet history has surely never known an ostensible symbol of gallantry so routinely disrespected by its advocates.

  7. jack16 says

    I wonder if they really understand that they announce “I’m a proud racist!”?


  8. hemidactylus says

    I know someone who did his PhD thesis on NASCAR culture. He got to tag along during at least one season amongst the natives and do field work in the pits. I never read his thesis, but he did tell me a bit about the bootlegging background of the sport. Actually interesting stuff, but given its roots in the Deep South there’s always been a heavy redneck element. There are tracks outside the south. And I recall NASCAR trying to globalize doing a race in Japan when Dale Sr was still alive. His death paralleled that of Ayrton Senna for impact on motorsports. Most NASCAR tracks are oval and boring. I used to prefer Superbike races back when Duhamel was active. Now that’s poetry in motion right there.

    I don’t know how many black drivers have made it anywhere in stock car racing. That’s an issue. Oh there’s this guy:

    Danica Patrick had a decent run that brought women into the scene. Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya came from F1 and raced the redneck ovals for a bit. I don’t watch anymore after I got into F1, but thems foreigners race at funny hours which means like middle of the night here.

  9. mountainbob says

    Recists? Yup! For sure. And, the drivers are athletes as well. Football players work hard for 15 seconds or less and then rest for a minute. Race drivers fight the wheel continuously for 2+ hours, and dare not often blink (they can travel 50 yards with their eyes closed during a blink, and forget about a sneeze). Drivers must have 360 degree situational awareness and lightning fast reflexes. And, they still crash and burn. Ain’t nuthin’ says you cannot be a racist and still appreciate the physical abilities of the driers, even if you’ve got too much beer or rot-gut under your belt.