By Patrick Reynolds

Oh, say can you see,
By the dawn’s early light…

NASCAR, and most auto racing fans and participants are very patriotic. Prior to every event I attend, I witness pre-race programs that literally give me goose bumps and instill strong pride in being an American.

Respect for this country’s veterans, both living and those that made the ultimate sacrifice, is given. Soldiers’ lives are honored. This is just a matter-of-fact happening in motorsports that is extremely common.

What so proudly we hailed,
At the twilight’s last gleaming…

A small group of NFL players have recently shown disrespect toward our National Anthem, our flag, and our past and present members of the American military.

Their cause is oppression. Their action is to not stand at attention during the playing of the National Anthem.

Some are kneeling, some are sitting, and others are raising a clenched fist. All are disrespecting the United States.

Whose broad stripes and bright stars,
Through the perilous fight…

Let me point out that the cause in which the football players are drawing attention to, is worthwhile. Oppression, racism, and discrimination should not be tolerated. The fact that athletes want to take a stand against these is admirable. The manner in which they are doing it is shameful.

O’er the ramparts we watched,
Were so gallantly streaming…

Showing blatant disrespect for the United States, the Veterans, and the symbolic flag that grants you the freedom to make a protest is disgusting. As of this writing, the NFL has done nothing to address the actions of the players staging the protests other than to release a statement regarding the players’ freedom.

I like football. I love auto racing. I do not know enough about football to write or broadcast any deep game analysis. That is why my spoken and written words address motorsports- an important sport to me.

And the rocket’s red glare,
The bombs bursting in air…

Football is nice to have on the television on the fall and winter- in between gaps of time with no auto races. It is somewhat a seasonal winter treat. With this latest political situation, I won’t be tuning in. The opening NFL weekend had an absence of televised national motorsports series. I found myself following online coverage of regional short track oval racing and the Indy Lights race from Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, CA. Football was not missed.

Memories of decades of motorsports events that I have attended, have kept me smiling with each recollection. Lately, memories of the glorious and respectfully patriotic pre-race ceremonies have provided the warm, fuzzy memories.

Gave proof through the night,
That our flag was still there…

To all the motorsports fans, participants and sanctioning bodies… thank you from the bottom of my heart for honoring the United States. You stand at attention during the National Anthem. You respect our flag. You respect our Veterans. Our country has its problems, and I believe in everyone’s right to peacefully protest. Dishonoring our Nation and the Veterans, both living and passed, is not a form of protest. It makes you naïve and ungrateful. It makes me eager to see you exercise your freedom… to leave the Unites States.

Thank you NASCAR, Indycar, NHRA, IMSA, WoO, ARCA, USAC and the multiple regional oval track, drag, and road racing sanctioning bodies and speedways for reminding me about what is good with America.

We all need that from time to time.

Oh say does that star spangled banner yet wave,
For the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Patrick Reynolds is a former professional NASCAR mechanic who hosts Speedway Report Mondays 7:30 pm ET/ 4:30 pm PT on Follow on Twitter @SpeedwayPat.