- AL Reading Service
A NASCAR team debuted a new “Blue Lives Matter” paint scheme on its Chevy Camaro over the weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Xfinity Series driver Kyle Weatherman and his racing team said it was a show of solidarity with law enforcement officers and first responders to thank them for their “service, sacrifice and dedication.”
The move comes days after NASCAR banned the Confederate battle flag from all its events and properties. Last week, the only African American driver currently in the Cup Series, Bubba Wallace, unveiled his car’s new Black Lives Matter paint scheme.
Mike Harmon Racing tweeted an image of the no. 47 car Saturday, which includes a Blue Lives Matter flag on its hood and #BackTheBlue painted over each of the vehicle’s rear tires.
“Mike Harmon Racing supports our LEO’s [law enforcement officers] and First Responders, we THANK YOU for your service, sacrifice and dedication,” it tweeted.
The Blue Lives Matter movement, which started in response to Black Lives Matter, advocates for police and other law enforcement officers.
Black Lives Matter and its calls for law enforcement accountability and an end to police brutality have gained renewed attention in recent weeks. In the wake of the May 25 killing of George Floyd, a black man, by a white officer in Minneapolis, protests led in part by the movement’s organizers continue in many cities across the United States and internationally.
Weatherman, the driver of the No. 47 car, also took to social media saying that there was “something special on the car this weekend” and urged his followers both to repost the tweet and to “LOVE everyone.”
“A lot going on in the world right now and I wanted to express that most first responders are good people,” Weatherman said. “My uncle is a firefighter and he would do anything to help save lives.”
The 22-year-old driver, who finished 33rd on Saturday out of a possible 37 racers after his car had transmission issues, also said he stands with black people in the United States. He was responding to another driver, David Ragan, who suggested “people are choosing sides” after reading Weatherman’s original tweet.
“Thanks David. I absolutely I support the black men and women of this country and also support all first responders also. LOVE EVERYONE,” Weatherman tweeted.
NASCAR banned Confederate battle flags at its facilities on Wednesday, saying, “The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, competitors and our industry.”
Wallace, who drives the No. 43 car, told NPR last week that the change was “a long time coming.”
“I know a lot of people are satisfied with the direction and the choices that NASCAR make to change the image and move forward the message that we’re trying to push across these days and to create, you know, unity, equality,” he said in an interview with NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly.
“And the words that stood out on my race cars Wednesday night were love, compassion and understanding,” Wallace continued. “So it’s a small step for us, but it moves in big factors to get a new fan base out to the racetrack.”
Not everyone was excited about the sport’s Confederate flag ban.
Ray Ciccarelli, a NASCAR truck series driver, has said he plans to quit at the end of the season “if this is the direction NASCAR is headed.” He later told Frontstretch.com that his plans beyond the 2020 season are “to be determined.”