‘Cooter’ Says NASCAR Dishonoring Southerners by Banning ‘Dukes of Hazzard’ General Lee Car

Bob Pockrass, Scene Daily, February 18, 2012

Ben Jones, who starred as the mechanic Cooter in the TV show “The Dukes of Hazzard,” isn’t a big fan of NASCAR these days.

Jones, a former U.S. congressman from Georgia, was dismayed that NASCAR nixed a plan for golfer Bubba Watson to drive the General Lee car from the hit television series on a parade lap prior to the Sprint Cup race March 4 at Phoenix International Raceway.

NASCAR did not want the car on the track because of the Confederate flag on the roof.

“At a time when tens of millions of Americans are honoring their Union and Confederate ancestors 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.

NASCAR has tried to distance itself from the Confederate flag, which used to be a staple in the infield camping areas at many tracks in a sport whose roots are in the Southeast.

{snip} NASCAR said that the 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.”

{snip}

“This is also an extraordinary insult to rural southerners, who are NASCAR’s oldest and most fervent fan base, and it sends a message against inclusion and against the need for diversity,” Jones said.

“Many of us who are descended from ancestors who fought for the South see this as a crude dishonoring of our kinfolks and our heritage. Our ancestors were proud Americans who had fought for our nation before the Civil War and have served honorably in every conflict since then.”

Jones said he does not believe the flag is a racist symbol.

{snip}

“I am a veteran of the civil rights movement, a life member of the NAACP, and a proud member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. As a cast member of ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’ and the owner of several General Lees, I can attest that the car and our show reflect the very best of American values, and that Hazzard County was a place where racism was not tolerated.”

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