Weeks after NASCAR’s only Black driver, Bubba Wallace, made a profound statement, he became a victim of racial intimidation.
On June 21, the day NASCAR scheduled a race at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama, a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall, according to ESPN.
Only a few people would have had access to the garage stall, so NASCAR is currently investigating the incident.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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.”
During a race on Monday, June 8, 2020, Wallace honored George Floyd by wearing a black T-shirt with the words “I Can’t Breathe” and told reporters, “My next step would be to get rid of all Confederate flags.”
The Confederate flag has been a signature at auto races during NASCAR’s 72-year history. Fans often bring the flag to races and wear clothing with the symbol.
Officials at NASCAR decided to take a stand and banned all Confederate flags from its races and events.
However, on June 21, several people hung the Confederate flag from their cars while driving near the Talladega Superspeedway and a plane flew over the race track with the Confederate flag in tow.
Wallace responded to the noose incident on Twitter.
“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as 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. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone,” Wallace wrote.