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Over the weekend, reports broke from within the NASCAR community that a crew member of the popular racing league’s one full-time black driver, Bubba Wallace, found a noose in the team’s garage stall at the popular Talladega Superspeedway. The incident reportedly happened on Sunday, according to Wallace’s team, and now both the race car driver and the league have released statements about what happened. The league is also committed to looking into the incident.
Reports indicate that the noose was found at the track in an area that is only open to personnel, health officials and others directly related to race day and ensuring NASCAR events go off without a hitch. The crew member who found the noose reported it immediately to NASCAR, who is now investigating and released the following statement this morning. Per NASCAR:
We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and we will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.
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. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across 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 welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.
Bubba Wallace has lately been in the news for speaking his feelings about the confederate flag’s usage in the sport; he pushed the message of change and had given “kudos” to NASCAR for quickly making the change in an interview with Today. An incident had recently occurred at Talledega, as a plane flew over the track with a confederate flag and a “Defund NASCAR” sign, per TMZ. Meanwhile, NASCAR had previously made a statement on June 10 denouncing the use of the confederate flag at all NASCAR events. The organization noted at the time that NASCAR should be an “inclusive” and “welcoming” environment for all fans. NASCAR is also currently looking into who flew the flag over the race track.
The news comes as NASCAR was one of the first sports to get back into gear after the pandemic shut much of the country down and is just now beginning to allow fans at events. Bubba Wallace has detailed that the flag ban is likely to be enforced at NASCAR events, though CNN reports memorabilia was sold "across the street." The popular Talladega Geico 500 racing event was supposed to be held this Sunday, but was postponed to Monday due to weather. Meanwhile an investigation is being undergone to determine how the noose got into the racing garage.