NASCAR announced on Sunday night that a noose was found hanging in the garage of driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, AL, where the Geico 500 was supposed to be run earlier that day but was canceled due to inclement weather.
“We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR released 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.”
Wallace — the lone black driver in NASCAR’s top tier — has been a vocal advocate in weeks for the Black Lives Matter movement and the abolishing of the Confederate flag, which the sport banned from their events on June 10.
The 26-year-old Alabama native sported a custom design for his No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro amplifying the Black Lives Matter message later that day in a race in Martinsville, TN.
Bubba Wallace wore an “I can’t breathe” shirt, and will drive in a car painted with Black Lives Matter art in tonight's NASCAR race.
He’s the only full-time black driver in NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/GtTZiLKqLL
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 10, 2020
Despite Monday’s race being postponed, a plane still flew over Talladega with a banner reading “Defund NACAR,” connected to a Confederate flag.
As NASCAR launches its investigation to find the culprit who hung the noose in Wallace’s garage, their search can at least be narrowed down to its employees. Only drivers and crew members have access to the garages.
“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 on Sunday night. “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 other tod 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.”