Bubba Wallace is the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. He drives the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet and has been the target of racist remarks on social media. The noose in the garage, shocked NASCAR owners, managers and drivers and law enforcement was called in to investigate.
“We’re going to use every effort we can to determine who has done this, whether it’s a single person or multiple people,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. " He called the act very serious in a teleconference with racing reporters. “I know that the director of the FBI has informed the Birmingham office to use all their resources to find out.”
Phelps said someone from the No. 43 discovered the noose late Sunday afternoon and immediately brought it to NASCAR’s attention. He said he informed Wallace of the noose, which is a racist symbol of lynching. “I am the one that informed Bubba that this happened,” he said. “It was a difficult moment for him and difficult for me.”
Bubba Wallace said “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 how persistent we must be in the fight against racism." “As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you,’” he wrote. ” This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
After a public plea from Wallace, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its events and properties on June 10, which stirred up racial controversy in the stock-car racing community.
“There is no place for racism in NASCAR,” Phelps said.
Since security in the garage area at Talladega is tight because of COVID-19 social distancing rules, chances are great the noose was placed by someone associated with the sport.
Phelps was hesitant to say there may have been a breach in garage security.
NASCAR may have video of incident depending on the positioning of security cameras around the garage area.
The discovery of the noose drew the ire of Petty, one of NASCAR’s iconic drivers, who tallied 200 wins and seven Cup Series championships as a competitor and created millions of fans for the sport. He said, "he was enraged by the 'filthy act' and that it serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to get rid of racial prejudice and pledged to use RPM resources to create change."