CLAIM: NASCAR, which recently banned the Confederate flag at its events, is now forcing its drivers to engage in Muslim prayer.
THE FACTS: NASCAR is not forcing drivers to engage in Muslim prayer.
The bogus claim circulated with a photo that showed drivers at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway taking part in a longstanding tradition called “kissing the bricks.” A post featuring the photo racked up more than 140,000 views last weekend. “So NASCAR bans the confederate flag but FORCES all their drivers to do Muslim prayer?” it read. “I wouldn’t have believed it if I didn’t see it with my own eyes. Unacceptable!!”
NASCAR has been the target of heavy praise and some disdain since it announced it would ban the Confederate flag from its events and properties, citing a need to provide a more “welcoming and inclusive” environment for its fans. But the auto racing association has not asked its athletes to participate in a Muslim prayer. The photo that went viral on social media actually shows drivers participating in a well-known NASCAR tradition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Yard of Bricks. It was started by driver Dale Jarrett in 1996. After Jarrett won the Brickyard 400 race, he and his crew walked out to the finish line, knelt and kissed the yard-long section of bricks on the track. Since then, winners of the Indianapolis 500, the Brickyard 400 and other races have done the same.