NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace and the racing organization are speaking out after it was reported that a noose was found hanging in Wallace’s team garage at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
“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,” Wallace said in a statement posted on Twitter. “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. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ 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 is currently the only Black driver in the elite NASCAR Cup Series, racing as No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports. In the wake of the recent large-scale protests over systemic racism in America, Wallace called on NASCAR to ban the display of the Confederate Flag at races in an interview on June 8, with NASCAR announcing they were doing so two days later. Wallace also raced with a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme on his car the day NASCAR announced the ban.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” NASCAR’s statement said. “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.”
The Cup Series race at Talladega was originally scheduled for Sunday but was pushed back to Monday due to weather conditions.