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SONOMA, Calif. (AP) – NASCAR’s most popular driver is calling the Confederate flag “offensive to an entire race” while voicing his support for it being removed from the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol.

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NASCAR this week said it backs South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley’s call to remove the Confederate flag from the State House, and said it disallows the flag symbol in any official NASCAR capacity.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. said he’s long felt that the flag has no place in present day use.

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The flag issue was heightened last week after nine people were slain at a South Carolina church and the man charged in the case was seen in photos posing with the flag.

Teammate Jeff Gordon says Hendrick Motorsports has long prohibited any merchandise that uses the Confederate flag symbol.

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