NASCAR found a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall on race day of the Geico 500 at Talladega Speedway. According to ESPN’s Marty Smith, NASCAR has launched an investigation into who carried out this racist gesture and is prepared to ban them from the sport for life if it is a member of a race team.
Smith also reported that it was a member of Wallace’s team that found the object and pointed NASCAR to the heinous act before the driver saw it. Wallace released a lengthy statement on Twitter noting that he will not stop speaking out for what he believes is right.
“This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down,” Wallace noted at the end of his statement. “I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
The gesture comes just weeks after NASCAR banned confederate flags from events. Wallace also drove a Black Lives Matter paint-scheme in Martinsville to raise awareness for the cause and has been vocal about his desire to diversify the fan base. Wallace discussed his decision to push for the special paint scheme.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to run #BlackLivesMatter on the car for Martinsville,” Wallace said, 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.”
NASCAR Described the Organization as ‘Angry & Outraged’
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
NASCAR released a statement noting they are “angry and outraged” about the incident and will do everything in their power to find out who put the noose in the No. 43 stall.
“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,” NASCAR said in a statement (via ESPN). “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
NASCAR Will Look Into Potential Legal Action
“It is in fact opening the door to everyone. No matter who you love. No matter what you might worship. No matter who you cheer for. The door is now open to you. It is not closed to anyone anymore.” Powerful words @MartySmithESPN. #NASCAR #BubbaWallace #BlackLivesMattter pic.twitter.com/q5ais0lnaF
— Jonathan Adams (@JonDAdams) June 11, 2020
The person who placed the noose in the No. 43 stall is not known at this time, but there is concern that it happened from someone within one of the race teams. As a result of COVID-19, the garage has become even more limited with who is allowed in the area as NASCAR continues to take safety precautions. According to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass, NASCAR will also explore taking legal action, if applicable, against the person.
“NASCAR says it will work with law enforcement to determine if any crimes have been committed.of a noose being placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall,” Pockrass tweeted.
It is not entirely clear when the noose was placed in the garage as NASCAR’s statement only indicates it was “late afternoon.” There was a lengthy rain delay at Talladega before the race was eventually rescheduled for Monday, June 22.
“It pisses me the hell off and it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, not only for Bubba, but for every single person he is standing up for,” Smith explained on SportsCenter.