Bubba Wallace is debuting a Black Lives Matter paint scheme at Martinsville for the No. 43 car. Wallace believes the Black Lives Matter car will “speak volumes for what I stand for.”
“I’m excited for this opportunity to run #BlackLivesMatter on the car for Martinsville,” Wallace explained, per NASCAR.com. “This statement that we have right here. … Running this race car. Being on live television. I think it’s going to speak volumes for what I stand for, but also what the initiative that NASCAR, the whole sport, is trying to push.”
The all-black color scheme features white and black hands clenched together on the hood of the car with “Compassion, Love, Understanding” written underneath. The #BlackLivesMatter appears above the back tires of the ride. Wallace has been outspoken about the need for NASCAR drivers to be vocal about the rejection of systemic racism following the recent death of George Floyd.
Wallace was one of several drivers that participated in a video speaking out against racism that was released prior to the NASCAR race in Atlanta on Sunday. He also wore a Black Lives Matter t-shirt prior to the race.
Here is a closer look at Wallace’s Black Lives Matter car.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 9, 2020
Wallace Encouraged NASCAR to Ban the Confederate Flag at Tracks
Wallace recently opened up about changing his mind about the presence of confederate flags at racetracks. The driver noted that he believes NASCAR should ban the confederate flag to create a more welcoming environment as well as continue to diversify the fan base.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace explained to CNN. “It starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Earlier in Wallace’s career, the driver had a softer stance on whether the flag should be allowed at races. Wallace admitted that he looked into the issue further and believes that the flag could be a deterrent for potential fans.
“What I’m chasing is checkered flags, and that was kind of my narrative, but diving more into it and educating myself, people feel uncomfortable with that, people talk about that — that’s the first thing they bring up,” Wallace said, per ESPN.
NASCAR released a statement prior to the Martinsville race announcing that the flag is no longer welcome at events. The organization called the confederate flag something that runs “contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment.”
“The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties,” NASCAR announced in a statement.
Wallace Admitted to Being Frustrated About the ‘Black Driver’ Label
For Wallace, it is a balance between using his platform to educate others and looking forward to the day when people talk about his performance on the track more than his ethnicity. During a 2018 interview with USA Today, Wallace noted that he wanted to embrace being labeled rather than be frustrated.
“(For media outlets), their headline is ‘black driver’, ‘African-American driver’, and fans are getting tired of it,” Wallace explained. “So I was letting them know – I wouldn’t say I’m tired of it, but I’ve accepted it. I know that every article that you pull up is gonna start with that. Embrace it, (and) carry on about your day. No need to waste 20 seconds of your life where you’re responding ‘Oh, this is annoying. He doesn’t need to be labeled.’ I’m gonna be labeled, it’s gonna happen, it’s all part of it. So just enjoy it, sit back, embrace it, enjoy it.”