Ray Ciccarelli: Who Is NASCAR Driver Quitting Over Confederate Flag Ban?
Following NASCAR’s announcement on Wednesday that it would be banning the Confederate flag from all of its events and properties, driver Ray Ciccarelli announced that he will be leaving the company at the end of the 2020 season, per CBS Sports. In a lengthy Facebook post on his now-deactivated account, Ciccarelli voiced his opposition to the direction NASCAR was heading.
“Well its been a fun ride and dream come true but if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over, i don’t believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. 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*cking one group to cater to another and i ain’t spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!! So everything is for SALE!!”
NASCAR explained their reasoning for banning the Confederate flag in a statement released Wednesday.
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special.”
NASCAR’s decision comes in the wake of calls for a closer examination of structural racism and the creation of a more inclusive society following the death of George Floyd. The company has also removed guidelines requiring team members to stand during the national anthem. Driver Bubba Wallace drove a car emblazoned with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” in a Cup Series race on Wednesday.
Before NASCAR, Ciccarelli Was Involved In The ARCA Racing Series
Born on January 20, 1970, Ciccarelli began his racing career in earnest with the ARCA racing series in 2014. Ciccarelli was a part-time driver for the company and raced for teams including Carter 2 Motorsports, Kimmel Racing, Hamilton-Hughes Racing, and Hixson Motorsports. In 2017, he started his own team, Ciccarelli Racing. The team’s first race was the Lucas Oil 200 in Daytona, Florida, where Ciccarelli’s No. 38 car finished seventh in qualifying before ultimately securing a 21st-place finish. Ciccarelli Racing’s second and final race of the 2017 season was at the General Tire 200 in Talladega, where Ciccarelli finished thirteenth.
Ciccarelli Drove In 18 Races During His NASCAR Career
Also in 2017, Ciccarelli joined NASCAR’s Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series. While driving the No. 10 truck for the Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing team, he made his debut in the Eldora Dirt Derby, finishing 22nd after starting from the 32nd position. Ciccarelli would participate in races in Michigan, New Hampshire, Texas, and Phoenix while driving the No. 0 truck, where he didn’t finish higher than 26th. He returned to the No. 10 truck for the Baptist Health 200 in Homestead, Florida, and finished 32nd.
After a poor 2018 that saw him qualify for only three races, Ciccarelli had his most successful season in 2019. He revived his old racing team, under the new name CMI Motorsports. The initials in the name stand for Ciccarelli Moving & Installation, which is a company he owns and also serves as his truck’s primary sponsor. Ciccarelli qualified for eight out of the 10 races that he entered and secured three finishes in the Top 20. He secured the first Top 10 finish in his time with the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series at the Corrigan Oil 200 in Brooklyn, Michigan.
Ciccarelli was quiet in a 2020 season that has been disrupted due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The only race he entered was the NextEra 250 in Daytona, where he did not qualify.