TALLADEGA, AL – Sunday’s scheduled NASCAR Cup Series race at Talladega was postponed until Monday, by foul weather. Following the announcement, NASCAR put out another press release voicing its anger and disgust for an incident that took place in the Cup garage at the Alabama superspeedway. In it, NASCAR denounced a despicable act. A noose was found in the garage stall of the No. 43 team (Richard Petty Motorsports) and driver Bubba Wallace, the lone black racer in NASCAR’s top division.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. 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.”
With racial tensions at a boil in the US and NASCAR taking steps as an organization and a community to improve relations – including banning the display of the Confederate flag at its events – the news of the noose drew immediate and universal condemnation.
Wallace posted a note condemning the vile, threatening act and recognized the support he’s received in recent weeks from his peers, NASCAR and others in the garage.
“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 our fight against racism,” said Wallace. “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…”
The discovery of the noose is all the more troubling, however, given that access to the Cup garage has been tighly limited and regulated as part of the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., one of the sport’s most popular personalities, voiced his support for Wallace, on Twitter. “I don’t worry about our sport. I have confidence NASCAR’s leadership will find who did this and continue pushing us in the right direction. I do worry about Bubba. I hope Bubba is feeling loved and supported. Keep sending him that love and support. He needs it now more than ever.”