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The promoter for a southern Minnesota raceway has come out in support of the track’s announcer who — while filling in for the regular announcer earlier this week at a northern Iowa speedway — made racially charged remarks.
The announcer who filled in at the Kossuth County Speedway now has been identified as Lon Oelke — who is the full-time announcer at Fairmont Raceway across the border in Fairmont, Minn. Oelke was identified in social media posts made to the Fairmont Raceway Facebook page by promoter Jon Mccorkell.
On Facebook, Mccorkell voiced his support for Oelke and his comments made at Kossuth County Speedway, saying "I agree with all of Lons comments and opinions." Mccorkell also confirmed Oelke would be announcing Friday's race at Fairmont Raceway.
Mccorkell later commented on the post, saying that Oelke would receive "the loudest standing ovation" before the race on Friday. The post has since been deleted from the Fairmont Raceway's Facebook page.
Oelke did not respond to a request for comment from the Globe Gazette.
Oelke lives in southern Minnesota, and in addition to serving as the full-time announcer at Fairmont Raceway formally served as the growth director for the United States Modified Touring Series, leaving the position in 2015.
The controversy surrounding Oelke began Thursday when he served as the fill-in announcer at Kossuth County Speedway. During the national anthem, Oelke made remarks regarding the National Football League and Black national anthem that were considered by many who heard them to be racially insensitive.
"Here's our social service announcement — if you won't stand for our flag, if you're going to take a knee … I got four words for you: Find a different country. If you won't do it, get the hell out of Dodge," he said over the track speakers.
"I heard about all this stuff going on the NFL, now they're going to have another national anthem for those folks for the, I guess, darker toned skin color. You know what, I'll just say Blacks, they want a different national anthem and the NFL is thinking about doing it. So I say shut the TVs off and let them play in front of nobody."
Afterward, Kossuth County Speedway officials released a statement saying that there was no place for racially insensitive comments at their speedway.
"Kossuth County Speedway and the Kossuth County Fair Board do not condone the comments made by the fill-in announcer," the statement said. "We do not tolerate discrimination at our racing events and welcome race fans of all color, gender, religion, and creed to join our racing family."
A news release went on to say that the usual track announcer, Chad Meyer, was not responsible for the comments and that the fill-in announcer will no longer be welcome at any track events.