Before the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega Superspeedway got underway Monday afternoon, NASCAR drivers made a powerful statement in support of Bubba Wallace.
On Sunday, hours after the race was postponed due to weather, NASCAR announced that a noose had been found planted in Wallace’s stall. Wallace is the only Black full-time driver in the Cup series, and he spoke out last week against fans flying the Confederate flag at race tracks — to which NASCAR responded by banning the flag at its races.
The other NASCAR drivers at Talladega joined together before Monday’s race by walking behind Wallace’s No. 43 car in solidarity with him. Joined by their crews, it made for a procession of what appeared to be more than 100 people supporting Wallace as they made their way around the track.
So many emotions. So great to see.pic.twitter.com/pHWcKVDht6— Scott Abraham (@ScottABC7) June 22, 2020
Fox Sports announcer Mike Joy said the person who left the noose, a symbol racist to Black people, had to have been a competitor, official or track staff member in order to have access to the garage.
“A despicable act by someone, flying directly in the face of NASCAR’s efforts to build a culture that is diverse, equal and welcome,” Joy said.
In a statement Sunday, NASCAR vowed it launched an investigation and will “eliminate” the perpetrator or perpetrators from the racing league. The FBI is now investigating, as well.
Richard Petty, known as “The King” of NASCAR and the owner of the team Wallace races for, said he was “enraged” by the racist incident and traveled to Talladega Monday to offer his support for Wallace in person.
“There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism,” Petty said in a statement. “This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change. The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR.”
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