By; Ashley McCubbin
Late Sunday night, NASCAR released a statement saying a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” the statement read. “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.”
Currently with the COVID pandemic, the sanctioning body has been restricting garage access to just drivers, crews, as well as officials and track workers.
Wallace has been very vocal in the past weeks about the Black Lives Matter movement, which ultimately led to him running a car with the message at Martinsville Speedway. An announcement then followed days later the confederate flag would not be allowed at any events moving forward.
The Richard Petty Motorsports released a statement on Twitter saying the situation leaves him saddened, but also a painful reminder of how much further they need to go.
Beyond his stance on the topic resulting in the ban of the confederate flag, it has also led to other drivers standing alongside him on the issue. Ty Dillon hosted an Instagram live where he and Wallace covered the topic of racism, while Dale Earnhardt Jr. had Wallace on his podcast, The Dale Jr. Download, to discuss the matter further. The outreach then led to the sanctioning body, drivers, and NASCAR on Fox showcasing a stance on the issue in the Atlanta Motor Speedway broadcast.
Recently while speaking with the media just 10 days ago, Wallace shared future concerns of instances like this, but also stated he was not going to back down from delivering the message.
“My past experiences; I like to go out and sometimes spend time in the infield with the fans and have a good time, and I haven’t been ridiculed against. I know that’s going to change now,” he said. “I’ve got to be careful what I do. That’s kind of where we live in. My dad has texted me. He was proud of what I was doing on and off the race track, but he was worried about my safety; you know, going out in public and whatnot.
“So, it’s just crazy you have to think about that side of things. So, you’ve definitely got to watch your back now, and can’t be like that outspoken guy, just happy-go-lucky guy that would go take a trip on the golf cart or my longboard down into the infield, or whatever, and have a good time. So, it’s definitely different. But, my past experience wasn’t anything that was blown out of proportion of something that bothered me. We always had a good time at the race track.”