This is huge news.
According to a report from ESPN’s Marty Smith, Bubba Wallace, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, will have a special guest on Monday at Talladega Superspeedway. The King, himself, Richard Petty will make his first appearance at the track following the reopening of the sport after the COVID-19 shut down.
NEWS: NASCAR industry sources tell me Richard Petty will attend today’s race at Talladega, to stand in solidarity w @BubbaWallace.
Petty, 82, has not attended a race since COVID-19 halt.
Sources told me Petty commented: “The most impt thing for me right now is hugging my driver.”
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 22, 2020
Smith’s report, which cites industry sources, states that the 82-year old seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion simply wants to support his 26-year old driver.
On Sunday, a noose was found at Talladega Superspeedway in the garage stall that houses Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro. NASCAR released a statement late Sunday evening stating that an investigation has been started and once the guilty parties are found they’ll be ousted from the sport.
Petty, since Smith’s report, has released a statement on the issue of the noose being found in the No. 43 garage stall.
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team. There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change. The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed, and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR. I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”
Petty, along with Richard Childress, proclaimed in 2017 that he would fire any employee who didn’t stand for the United States national anthem. Following those statements, NASCAR banned anyone from kneeling during the anthem.
However, with the social unrest in the United States, currently, NASCAR has taken many steps over the past few weeks to be a more inclusive environment. Kneeling in protest during the anthem is now okay. Flying the Confederate Flag is not. Tossing a noose in garage stall will absolutely not be tolerated.
Wallace has had words of support from many influential people around the country in the aftermath, including LeBron James and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey. On Monday, he’ll have the unwavering support of his legendary team owner as well.
*Editor’s note: This story originally had Alabama Governor Kay Ivey’s name listed as Kay Ives. This was an spellcheck error that occurred due to the common use of stories involving Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Greg Ives. We apologize for the error.
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.