A North Carolina racetrack lost two Carolina Sprint Tour races and “all but two” sponsors after track owner Mike Fulp offered “Bubba Rope” for sale last week, days after a noose was found in the Talladega garage of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
Fulp, owner of the half-mile 311 Speedway in Pine Hill, N.C., 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 racetrack advertised a series of “America We Stand” races for Saturday night, with Fulp writing on Facebook that the Confederate and Trump flags and caps and American and Christian flags for “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 on Facebook 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.
"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 title 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."
A local company, 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 on Facebook. “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.”
On June 20, a noose was found in Talladega garage occupied by Wallace’s team. An FBI investigation determined that the rope had been there since last October and was not specifically targeted at Wallace, but the incident prompted a discussion about race, particularly in a sport that has had only two Black drivers racing full time.
The incident came at a time of heightened tension, unrest and polarization over systemic racism and the police-involved killings of unarmed Black men.
It was only earlier this month that NASCAR, at Wallace's urging, banned the Confederate flag from its races. 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 sport and for the next generation to see and latch onto, getting rid of the Confederate flag, I knew, like: 'All right, roll the sleeves up. It's about to be tough.' "
Xfinity Series — Chase Briscoe held off Ross Chastain in overtime to win a crash-filled race at Pocono Raceway, the second of three NASCAR races at the track on Sunday.
Chastain, an eighth-generation farmer and fourth-generation watermelon farmer, and Briscoe swapped the lead in a fantastic battle down the stretch until the race’s ninth caution bunched the field and sent the race into OT.
Briscoe pulled away from there in the No. 98 Ford and won his fourth race of the season, and second in three races.
“Me and Ross, it was pretty fun,” Briscoe said. “He’s always one of the hardest guys to race against.”
Chastain hit the jackpot with his runner-up finish. He won the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash prize awarded to the highest finisher among four eligible drivers.
“It’s tough to be upset with second, but I am,” Chastain said. “It’s the memories we take with us, not the money.”
Jeremy Clements was third, followed by Myatt Snider and Michael Annett.
Pocono turned in a wreck-fest for the second straight race, the track-record tying nine cautions in Trucks was given a run for the money early in Xfinity.
There was a big one just inside 40 laps remaining that collected several contenders. Stage winners Austin Cindric and Justin Allgaier were caught up in the crash. So were Noah Gragson, the pole sitter, Daniel Hemric and Ryan Sieg.
“I hate being out of the race early, but I also hate having a race-winning car and not being able to capitalize on it,” Cindric said.
Briscoe even regrouped after he spun with the lead because of a tire issue late in the race. The 25-year-old Briscoe is now halfway to his preseason goal of eight victories.
Truck Series — Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports, won a two-lap sprint to the finish to win the wreck-filled Truck Series race, the first of three NASCAR races Sunday at Pocono Raceway.
The Truck race was rained out Saturday forcing the move to early Sunday.
Jones' enjoyment was short-lived — he wrecked on the first lap of the Xfinity Series race.
“It doesn’t take much when you get three wide,” Jones said. “We won the Truck race and I had high hopes for [the Xfinity Series] race, too.”
The Truck race never got any momentum and dragged from start to finish because of nine caution flags and two red flags on a sloppy day of racing at Pocono. Clint Bowyer warmed up for his Cup race with a jog on track property as the Truck race started and tweeted in the waning laps, “There’s a good chance I still might outrun this truck race.”
Bowyer might have had the longest run of the day.
Christian Eckes blew a right rear tire that spun him out of the lead with 12 laps left, ending his race. The green flag came out with eight laps remaining only for the race to slow again three laps later when the whopping ninth caution of the 60-lap race bunched the field.
That left two laps for the traditional green-white-checkered finish and Jones made it a doozy when he sped away from Sheldon Creed to win his first Truck race in 46 career starts and in his first start since last season.
Austin Hill was second and Creed, who won the first two stages, was third.
The race had a pair of big wrecks inside of 10 laps that gave the drivers a wake-up call from the early-morning start. Matt Crafton, a three-time series champion, and Codie Rohrbaugh smacked the wall on the first turn of the first lap. Austin Wayne Self and Raphael Lessard also hit the wall and that brought out the red flag for extensive cleanup.
The caution flag was out shortly again when Ty Majeski crashed hard entering the first turn to bring out the third caution flag at only 12 laps. The energy-absorbing SAFER barriers were put to good use throughout the race.