A noose was found hanging inside Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Sunday. Wallace is NASCAR’s lone black driver.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” NASCAR said in a statement that Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press obtained. “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.
“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”
Wallace released his own statement about the incident, calling it “a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”
“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you,'” Wallace wrote. “This will not break me, I will not give in, nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
Wallace has been vocal about change in NASCAR while publicly supporting the Black Lives Matter movement following George Floyd’s death in police custody. Ahead of a race in Atlanta two weeks ago, he wore a T-shirt reading “I can’t breathe,” and Wallace drove a BLM-themed car in another June race.
During the COVID-19 stoppage, Wallace publicly condemned fellow driver Kyle Larson for using a racial slur during an iRacing event.
NASCAR has taken steps to address the racism within the sport since protests began across the country after Floyd’s death. The circuit banned the Confederate flag from all races and events, beginning with this weekend’s race in Alabama.
A plane flew over Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday flying the Confederate flag along with a banner reading “Defund NASCAR,” according to The Associated Press.
Sunday’s Geico 500 at Talladega was postponed until Monday due to rain. Wallace is slated to start 24th.
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