President Donald Trump on Monday morning, questioned whether Bubba Wallace — NASCAR’s lone black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series — has apologized to NASCAR Drivers and Officials who stood by his side following a noose being found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway last month.
Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
In the tweet, the President of the United States called the noose incident a, “HOAX,” and that this, coupled with the confederate flag ban, has led to the sport’s, “lowest (television) ratings EVER!”
It should be noted that the fact that there was a noose found in the No. 43 team’s garage stall in Talladega was not a hoax. There was a noose, however it turned out that the noose wasn’t tied specifically as a message to Wallace in the aftermath of the confederate flag ban. NASCAR took precautions and treated the noose as a threat and involved the FBI.
After a couple of days, the FBI and NASCAR concluded in separate investigations that the rope in question, which was a pull down rope for the door in the garage stall, was tied into a noose. The FBI and NASCAR also concluded through video and photo evidence that the noose had been tied the previous year in October 2019 during the fall race weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
It should also be noted that Wallace was not permitted in the garage area during the race weekend (part of NASCAR’s COVID-19 protocols). He did not discover the noose, and was not the one who reported it to NASCAR.
As far as television ratings go, while they aren’t where NASCAR’s ratings were in the golden years of the sport (mid-2000s), they aren’t the lowest in history, either.
FOX Sports’ Executive Vice President Michael Mulvihill tweeted on Monday that NASCAR’s television viewership on FOX Networks have actually enjoyed an eight-percent increase from before the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes races after the confederate flag ban. This is actually even more impressive when you factor in that nearly every event has been impacted by weather since the return from COVID-19.
If we look at the on-track aspect of things, Wallace had another great run in Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway as he finished ninth. This marked his third top-10 of the season, and he now sits 19th within an earshot of his first-ever NASCAR Playoff berth with 10 races remaining until the Playoffs begin.
Following President Trump’s tweet, Richard Petty Majority Owner Andrew Murstein released a statement where he called the President’s tweet, “Misinformed.”
Then, Bubba Wallace released his own statement, which focused on love over hate. Wallace did also mention, “even if it’s hate from the POTUS.”
Around 3:30 PM ET, NASCAR broke their silence and released the following statement:
“We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership. NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, out competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.”
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.