Racin’ With Jason: Track owner shows true colors

  • In this Sept. 8, 2019, photo, Kevin Harvick leads the field through the first turn on the start of the NASCAR Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis. The once frosty schism between the two biggest racing series in the United States has thawed and NASCAR’s elite Cup Series will share a venue with IndyCar on the same weekend for the first time in history. AP File

Published: 7/2/2020 4:56:12 PM
Modified: 7/2/2020 4:56:02 PM

There are dumb ideas, and then there are those that are just plain ignorant.

This one was beyond ignorant, more like downright offensive.

In the immediate aftermath of the Bubba Wallace noose controversy I wrote about last week, a North Carolina track owner attempted to profit off it in the most disgusting way possible. Mike Fulp of 311 Speedwayin Pine Hill, N.C., advertised “Bubba Rope” on Facebook Marketplace.

His description was: “Buy your Bubba Rope today for only $9.99 each, they come with a lifetime warranty and work great.”

To be fair, there is a company called Bubba Rope that sells tow and recovery ropes for off-road trucks, and it could be what Fulp was referring to — but a true Bubba Rope sells for $60-$1,000, according to a FoxNews.com piece. So it’s safe to say Fulp was planning on selling nooses to hate-filled race fans.

However, his plan backfired when his listing started getting backlash from the public, including many self-described loyal customers of 311 Speedway.

“I started coming to 311 with my son but after your Bubba Rope b.s. my money’s going to go to Bowman-Gray and Tri-County. Go learn to be a promoter, it’s not hard, not saying stupid stuff in public forums is a good start in the right direction. Worked for me when I was one,” read one such tweet.

Even local politicians got in on the action.

“This incident of racism is horrific and shameful,” a spokesperson for North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said in a statement.

“North Carolina is better than this.”

The local chapter of the NAACP has discussed with its state counterparts the possibility of bringing criminal charges against Fulp.

According to one article, Fulp is planning to hold a “Heritage Night” at his track, where Confederate flags will be on display as well as sold — a clear response to Wallace’s successful crusade to have the Rebel flag removed from NASCAR properties. Since 311 Speedway is not a NASCAR-sanctioned track, the ban does not apply there.

Fulp’s actions are absolutely disgusting, though also expected from a certain segment of the racing community. Ever since the Confederate flag ban, there have been acts of defiance, including a plane flying one of the flags (and a sign saying “Defund NASCAR”) over Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway — where the noose knot was found in Wallace’s garage stall — during a Cup Series race.

Not to bring everything back to the Confederate flag, but I have a story to share from an article I read recently. The late Dale Earnhardt Jr. removed the flag from a bumper sticker he had on one of his cars because his Black housekeeper objected. So this was at least 20 years ago when the driver worshipped by most of the old-school fan base did what we are doing now — leaving the flag behind.

TOUGH DAY FOR LOCALS: No Franklin County drivers went to Victory Lane last Saturday at Monadnock Speedway in Winchester, N.H., although several cracked the top five.

Greenfield’s Jimmy Zellman finished fifth in the Pure Stock feature, which was won by David Aiken, of Claremont, N.H. Aiken won when leader Chris Davis suffered mechanical problems on the final lap.

In the Mini Stocks, Bernardston’s Shelby Avery came home fifth, while Gordon Farnum, of Fitzwilliam, N.H., won for the second straight week. With a second straight top-five finish, Avery is fourth in the points standings in the division through two races.

There were no Franklin County drivers in the top five in the Street Stocks, though Holyoke’s Tim Wenzel and Granby’s Ed Lofland were third and fifth, respectively.

Justin Littlewood, of Athol, started the Late Model Sportsman feature from the pole and finished second behind Aaron Fellows, of Croydon, N.H. It was the second win in as many starts for Fellows.

The NHSTRA Modifieds closed the night, with Deerfield’s Ben Byrne finishing second behind Palmer’s Brian Chapin. Byrne was disqualified from the victory in the opening race, so this was a good way to recover. Chapin is back after a brief retirement.

The next race at the Route 10 oval is Sunday as the Tri-Track Open Modified Series takes to the track. The program starts at 2 p.m. and will feature all the weekly divisions except the Pure Stocks. Advance tickets are available through monadnockspeedway.com.

BUCKLE UP: The Indianapolis 500 won’t take place until August but that doesn’t mean the Brickyard won’t be busy.

This weekend, the track plays host to an unprecedented Fourth of July tripleheader featuring IndyCar and NASCAR’s Cup and Xfinity Series. On Saturday, IndyCar and the Xfinity Series will compete on Indy’s road course, while the traditional Brickyard 400 for the Cup Series is Sunday.

As an IndyCar fan, I’m excited to see how this event turns out. IMS owner Roger Penske also owns a NASCAR team, so the pairing is a no-brainer in my opinion.

The IndyCar drivers are especially happy to be back at the Brickard, albeit on the road course. The Xfinity field has never run the Indy road course, so there are a lot of unknowns there. The Cup Series has been running the Brickyard 400 since 1994, though this will be the first time it’s run without fans in the stands.

Jason Remillard is a copy editor and page designer at the Recorder. He can be reached at jremillard@recorder.com and followed on Twitter @racinwithjason.

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