One track announcer’s racially- and nationally-charged speech at Iowa’s Kossuth County Speedway has turned the racing world on its head; some fans are wondering how this was allowed to happen while others — especially fans of color — are sharing their experiences with racing always being a fairly nationalist sport.
The Kossuth County Speedway race was aired on FloRacing, a motorsport streaming service that broadcasts just about anything, from drag racing to dirt racing and everything outside and in between. It also happened to stream a lengthy rant by one announcer in between on-track sessions.
“Here’s your social service announcement: If you won’t stand for our flag, if you’re gonna take a knee, if you’re gonna feel you have rights — you have the right to remain silent most of the time. But I’ve got words for you: find a different country if you won’t do it. Get the hell out of dodge,” the announcer said.
“Yes. A lot of people sacrificed things in their lives for us to do these liberties,” he added. “If you feel that’s your right, well, you just don’t have a right.
“I’ve heard about all the stuff going on in the NFL, now they’re going to have another national anthem for those folks, for I guess the darker toned skin color. I’ll just say, Blacks, they want a different national anthem, and the NFL is gonna do it. So, I say, shut the TVs off and let them play in front of nobody. Yes. That’s my announcement.”
During the speech, you could hear the crowd cheering in agreement. The clip has since been deleted from Twitter.
Kossuth County Speedway responded shortly after the event to clarify that this announcer was a fill-in track announcer, not their usual announcer.
Kossuth County Speedway and the Kossuth County Fair Board do not condone the comments made by the fill-in announcer,” a statement read. “We do not tolerate discrimination at our racing events and welcome race fans of all color, gender, and creed to join our racing family.”
It continued, “We acknowledge that though this is an isolated incident, that does not make it okay. Going forward, we will no longer be employing the individual who made those comments as a fill-in track announcer at any of our track events.”
FloRacing also responded by releasing a statement that read, “FloSports does not condone the sentiment or speech made by the announcer at the Kossuth County Speedway during the weekly racing event streamed on FloRacing on July 15. His opinions and language do not reflect our core values or have a place on our platform. The announcer was not a FloSports employee nor did we have a relationship with him. The event broadcast has been removed from FloRacing.”
Many fans were relieved to have such a quick response once the video began circulating on Twitter. However, not all fans were pleased — and one race track, Fairmont Raceway, doubled down. This track is the place where Kossuth’s fill-in announcer generally works.
The post read:
Lon Oelke has been our track announcer at Fairmont Raceway for many years. He will absolutely be announcing tomorrow night!
I, Jon Mccorkell am the promoter at Fairmont, and I do agree with all of Lons comments and opinions!
Please like and share if you agree, and join us tomorrow night and listen to non in person!!!
Fans of color took to Twitter to share their responses to the video:
For many, it was a disheartening reminder that the sport they love is not the welcoming place they’d like it to be. There have been calls for fans, tracks, and drivers to do better, and with good reason. There is no place for racism in our sport, and the more we speak out against it, the better.