Absolutely unfathomable news. On Sunday evening, NASCAR issued a statement that someone left a noose in the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.
The No. 43 car is of course driven by Bubba Wallace, the only African-American driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
NASCAR, in a statement released Sunday evening, says they are attempting to find the person or persons involved, and when they find them, they will be exiled from the sport.
Here is the full statement from NASCAR:
“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. 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.”
This is deeply and truly unsettling.
Wallace, following NASCAR’s statement, released one of his own to Twitter:
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
On Monday, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey released a statement that she will aid the effort to catch and punish the perpetrator or perpetrators of putting the noose in Wallace’s garage stall.
Here is the full statement from Governor Ivey:
I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against @BubbaWallace in Talladega – there is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state. Full statement: https://t.co/wmwVCOFd4B pic.twitter.com/mcFXKUynRs
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) June 22, 2020
On Monday, a statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town stated that the FBI is looking into the situation as well and will determine if there are any violations of federal law that occurred.
The statement read:
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law. Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
Of course the list of who could have been involved is much shorter than during normal times in NASCAR. Due to COVID-19, the garage area is off limits to all of the 5,000 fans in attendance this weekend and all media are not allowed in the garage as well.
This incident comes a few weeks after Wallace drove a Black Lives Matters paint scheme at Martinsville. Following that, Wallace called for NASCAR to ban the confederate flag, which NASCAR has since done.
Wallace is having a break-out season on the track. The 26-year old driver has two top-10 finishes in the first 12 races of 2020 and sits 20th in the driver point standings.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.