NASCAR drivers, pit crew members and others on Monday marched in solidarity with Bubba Wallace, in the wake of a racist incident that targeted the only full-time Black driver in the sport’s elite Cup Series.
The moving moment occurred ahead of the GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, which was broadcast Monday afternoon on Fox Sports. (Watch video down below.)
On Sunday, it was reported that a noose had been found in Wallace’s garage stall, not two weeks after he lobbied for the stock car racing series to ban the Confederate flag from display at its events and facilities. NASCAR proceeded to enact the ban effective June 10.
The garage area where the noose was found is considered secure, accessible only by competitors, officials and track staff.
“We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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.”
Wallace himself said on Twitter that the “the 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 ow persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”
During the show of support ahead of Monday’s race, Wallace emerged from his car, emotional, and was consoled by team owner Richard Petty. He then took a selfie with the crowd of peers, adding the simple statement, “Together”:
UPDATE: On June 23, NASCAR said that per the FBI’s report and photographic evidence, “the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall… well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”