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‘Defund NASCAR,’ Confederate flags wave outside Talladega, noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage

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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace declared that a “despicable act of racism and hatred” will not break him after a noose was found hanging in his garage stall.

The 26-year-old, who is the only black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, took to Twitter to express how “incredibly saddened” he was to find the noose in his garage stall at Talladega Sunday, as NASCAR announced it was investigating the incident and some fans touted signs calling to “Defund NASCAR.”

(Image YouTube screenshot)

“Today’s 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,” Wallace wrote.

“Together our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone,” he added, referring to recent efforts by the auto racing series to cultivate an inclusive community, adding that “we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you. 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,” Wallace wrote.

NASCAR condemned the “heinous act” in a statement issued Sunday.

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” the statement read. “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough 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.”

The GEICO 500 race in Talladega, which allowed about 5,000 fans in to watch, ended up being delayed until Monday due to rain. There were reportedly no incidents involving Confederate flags at the track, following  NASCAR’s decision earlier this month to ban the flags and symbols at all of its events. Wallace, who drove in a Black Lives Matter car in a race nearly two weeks ago, strongly supported the move.

(Image: YouTube screenshot)

But outside of the Talladega Motor Speedway on Sunday, it was a different story as vehicles displaying the Confederate flags drove past the Lincoln, Alabama, location and nearby roads.

A plane flying a banner with the flag and the words “Defund NASCAR” was also seen overhead.

NASCAR’s executive vice president Steve O’Donnell appeared to take a shot at the Confederate display in a tweet on Sunday.

“You won’t see a photo of a jackass flying a flag over the track here…but you will see this…Hope EVERYONE enjoys the race today,” he wrote.

Many Twitter users condemned the display of the flags outside of the event and others slammed the noose in Wallace’s stall, while some questioned if the incident was actually staged.

Frieda Powers

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