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Confederate flag leads NASCAR to reject Bubba Watson's 'Hazzard' car

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Friday, Feb. 17, 2012

At least pro golfer Bubba Watson's tenure as an honorary NASCAR race official made it into a news release.

That's about as far as it will go, however.

Plans have been scrapped to have Watson drive a parade lap around Phoenix International Raceway in the original General Lee car from the show "The Dukes of Hazzard" before the March 4 Sprint Cup Series race at the track in Avondale, Ariz.

The problem is not Watson or his car, but the Confederate flag image on its roof.

"NASCAR, International Speedway Corp. and Phoenix International Raceway officials discussed this and decided it was not in the best interest of our sport," NASCAR spokesman David Higdon said Friday.

"The image of 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."

Thursday afternoon, Watson posted the following message on his Twitter account:

"Sorry to say @nascar won't let me drive The General Lee at the @PhoenixRaceway !!! #dreamcrushed"

News releases about Watson's appearance at the track had been removed from the track's website by Friday.

Watson bought the General Lee used in the "Dukes of Hazzard" pilot episode for $110,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Auction in January. He drove the iconic car to the Phoenix Open this month.

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