DAYTONA BEACH — NASCAR will not return to a Donald Trump property in Miami for the season-ending Camping World postseason awards ceremony in South Florida.
"We have made the decision we will not be going to the Trump National Doral," David Higdon, NASCAR's Communications Director, said Friday. "We started talking about this situation earlier in the week."
Trump's recent volatile comments about Mexicans has triggered a huge backlash, as a number of supports and sponsors, including NBC and Macy's, have dropped him.
Higdon said the decision was finalized on Friday, coinciding with an open letter Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis sent to NASCAR chairman Brian France.
"Last year, our NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Awards Ceremony was held at the Trump National Doral in Miami, and due to recent and ongoing blatantly bigoted and racist comments from Donald Trump in regards to immigrants of the United States, I would like to inform you that I will not, nor will any representative of Camping World, participate or attend in the ceremonial event if it is held at any Trump property," Lemonis wrote.
"Our company will not stand to support any person or organization that associates with such beliefs and we feel strongly about distancing ourselves from any negative and discriminatory comments made against any gender, ethnicity, age group or so forth. "
NASCAR will make a decision where to move the event within the next few weeks.
Confederate Flag Whimper
The King doesn't see what all the fuss is about regarding NASCAR's Confederate controversy.
"I think it's a passing fancy, it will go for a week or two, everybody talks about it, then something else comes up and it will go off the board and nobody will pay any attention to it," NASCAR icon Richard Petty said during a media availability celebrating his 78th birthday on Friday.
Petty may be understating things a bit.
Based on anecdotal evidence and spottings, there were less than 10 Confederate flags in the Daytona Beach International Speedway infield on Friday. Speedway officials are offering to exchange any Confederate flags brought in by race fans for an American flag.
"I think it's appropriate for this country to celebrate the American flag on its birthday," Daytona Beach International Speedway President Joie Chitwood said. "For us it seems like the right thing do to. From that perspective, I don't think that's divisive at all. That's trying to provide an environment that's inclusive.
"We have to be thoughtful about what's next. That's the process. How do we get to a place where these events can be open, inclusive, and symbols are not the things we talk about."
On Thursday, NASCAR announced an unprecedented collaboration among the tracks, asking fans to "refrain from displaying the Confederate Flag at our facilities and NASCAR events."
Wreck Wreaks Havoc
At least the boys (and girl) got the Big One out of the way early.
"Just looks like the 2 (Keselowski) got into my left rear and he got away unscathed and trashed everybody else's stuff," Busch said. "It's frustrating and it's not at all what these guys pour all their blood, sweat and tears into. We wreck in practice and that's not very smart."
A number of drivers, including Busch, Biffle and Truex Jr., will have to go to their backup cars for the race, scheduled for Sunday night.
"Yeah, it didn't look like anyone was doing anything stupid at that point to me," Biffle said. "Quite frankly when the accident happened we were technically single file in my eyes. I have to watch the replay to know for sure. These cars get bumping around and suck up quicker than what you might think. Stuff can happen quick."
Edwards also shrugged it off as one of those "it's racin'" deals.
"This is a style of racing that these are the things you see at this type of race," he said. "Just the way it goes. It's like Darian (Grubb, crew chief) said, its restrictor plate racing and this can happen so let's go race."