A day after a noose was discovered hanging from NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, his fellow drivers and crew members walked in solidarity with him to kick off the circuit’s Cup Series game at Talladega. Per Fox Sports, the poignant scene occurred before the racing event began on June 22, with the hashtag #IStandWithBubba displayed all over the track. A member of Wallace’s team found the noose in a secure area “where access is limited to competitors, officials, and track staff” due to coronavirus restrictions. The FBI and DOJ are currently investigating the racist incident. “This is a very, very serious act and we take it as such,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps told The Wall Street Journal, confirming that the guilty party will be “unequivocally” banned from the sport for life. “I don’t care who they are,” he added.
Wallace, who is NASCAR’s sole full-time Black driver, said in a social-media statement on June 21 that the noose was a “despicable act of racism and hatred” that left him “incredibly saddened.” It also served 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.” The discovery of the noose came a week after NASCAR announced a new ban of Confederate flags at all races and events. Wallace heavily advocated for the change, stating that “no one should feel uncomfortable” when they attend a NASCAR race. “Get them out of here,” he said. “They have no place for them.”