NASCAR announced Sunday that it had found a noose in the garage stall of one of its drivers competing at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega County, Alabama.The stall belonged to Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver currently competing in NASCAR’s Cup Series.NASCAR condemned the “heinous act” in a statement on Sunday and resolved “to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”In his own statement, Wallace said Sunday’s act of hatred “serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society.” Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
NASCAR announced Sunday that a noose had been found in the garage stall of the 43 team at the Talladega Superspeedway.The stall belongs to Bubba Wallace — the only Black driver currently competing in NASCAR’s Cup Series.
Bubba Wallace wears a Black Lives Matter shirt at a NASCAR event.
Brynn Anderson/AP Images
The association released a statement late Sunday night condemning the act of hatred and vowing to ban whoever was responsible from the sport.”Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” NASCAR wrote in its statement. “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 organization added.—Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 22, 2020Wallace has been vocal in his support for the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of George Floyd, a Black man killed by a former Minneapolis police officer last month. Wallace previously called on NASCAR to eradicate the display of Confederate flags at its events and drove a car adorned with #BlackLivesMatter on the side at the 2020 Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville.
Wallace’s activism has been largely met with encouragement. Many individuals — from fellow athletes to casual sports fans — have shown their support for Wallace on the track after praising him for using his platform to speak out.In a statement released Sunday night, Wallace said that while he has been “overwhelmed by the support” he’s seen in recent weeks, he acknowledged that Sunday’s “despicable act of racism and hatred… 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.”
“Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone,” Wallace wrote. “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,” Wallace added. “I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”—Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020The noose discovery wasn’t the only racist act surrounding this year’s GEICO 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway.Before Sunday’s race was delayed by a day due to inclement weather, individuals gathered outside the track in Talladega County, Alabama, to display Confederate flags. According to ESPN, someone even flew a plane over the event that displayed a banner with a Confederate flag and the message “Defund NASCAR.”
It remains unclear how NASCAR plans to enforce its recent decision to abolish the Confederate flag — a relic of slavery that is recognized as a white supremacist symbol — from its events.
The GEICO 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway begins at 3 p.m. Monday and will air on FOX.