NASCAR bans "General Lee" from Phoenix race
NASCAR has banned the General Lee for its Confederate flag.
The Dukes of Hazzard has been off the air since 1985, but the television show's biggest star - a 1969 Dodge Charger known as the "General Lee" - has landed in the middle of an odd controversy between a professional golfer and NASCAR.
The controversy began when PGA Tour golf pro Bubba Watson purchased a version of the General Lee at auction for $110,000. Through a tie-up between the PGA and NASCAR, Watson was invited to drive the General Lee for a parade lap during the March 4 Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, but NASCAR has decided it would be best if Watson's car remained in his garage during the event.
The issue stems from the General Lee's paint job. Anyone familiar with the TV show will remember the General Lee's Confederate flag roof, which NASCAR says doesn't fit with the sport's core values.
"(The) Confederate flag is not something that should play an official role in our sport as we continue to reach out to new fans and make NASCAR more inclusive," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said in a statement.
However, Ben Jones, who played "Cooter" Davenport on The Dukes of Hazzard and went on to become a Georgia congressman, doesn't necessarily agree with NASCAR's decision to ban the General Lee. "During this Sesquicentennial of the Civil War, NASCAR has chosen to dishonor those Southerners who fought and died in that terrible conflict by caving to political correctness and the uninformed concerns of corporate sponsors," Jones said in a statement.
Unlike Jones, Watson is keeping quiet on the whole subject, but the golf pro says he still plans to attend the Phoenix race.