Tony Stewart (14) Stewart-Haas Racing Haas Automation Chevrolet SS during practice for the Sprint Cup Series Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN.
Jeffrey Vest | Icon Sportswire | Getty Images
A new racing series designed to revive the short-track glory days will ban the Confederate battle flag, just like NASCAR did.
Superstar Racing Experience (SRX) is a new series that will feature six races via a short-track circuit on Saturday nights starting in 2021. The series’ creators include racing icons Tony Stewart, Hall of Fame crew chief Ray Evernham and The Montag Group, a New York-based sports and entertainment firm.
After the race was announced, CNBC contacted SRX to seek clarity on the flag and was told the Confederate flag would not be included at future competitions.
“We are going to be an inclusive series with drivers and fans from diverse and multinational backgrounds. We will not condone activity or behavior that creates an unwelcoming or offensive environment for any of our fans or drivers,” an SRX spokesperson told CNBC.
ViacomCBS and the company’s CBS All-Access subscription service will broadcast the SRX events. The partnership will be a joint- economic venture between CBS and SRX.
“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,” the organization said in a statement at the time.
SRX wants to rejuvenate a short-track racing fanbase that is popular in the Southeast and Midwest parts of the country. The International Race of Champions series started in 1974 featured iconic racers from Dale Earnhardt, Mario Andretti, Mark Martin, and Stewart, folded in 2006.
According to the statement, the Montag Group will lead business operations for the SRX and Evernham will oversee all racing activities. George Pyne, the former COO of NASCAR and the current CEO of Bruin Sports Capital, a sports investment firm, is a member of the SRX board and will serve as an advisor.
On a call with reporters, Pyne said the series is “no different from IROC,” and the SRX format for the races will “likely be two 45-minute formats in very exciting environments.”
Asked about the narrative of SRX competing against NASCAR, Stewart downplayed the suggestion, saying SRX isn’t in competition with NASCAR “by any means” and wants to have “separation” from the organization.
“We are not going head-to-head against NASCAR, we’re not running on the same nights as NASCAR,” Stewart said. “It’s not meant to be competition for anybody. It’s meant to bring a product that’s a demand that the fans are asking for, fans want to see.
“This is a perfect opportunity for a lot of drivers like myself to be able to get back, compete against each other in a diverse style of racing.”