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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.”
“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.”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
“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.”
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 22, 2020
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.
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.
— Rob Finnerty (@RobFinnertyWTSP) June 22, 2020
BREAKING NEWS: ‘Defund NASCAR’: Plane protesting ban on Confederate flag soars over Talladega Superspeedway as a caravan of cars flies symbol outside the speedway…. but pack them away to enter. NASCAR officially banned the Confederate flag from its racetracks on June 10. pic.twitter.com/kHGhFDT8dH
— Dave Vescio (@DaveVescio) June 21, 2020
A plane flying a banner with the flag and the words “Defund NASCAR” was also seen overhead.
I still can’t get over “DEFUND NASCAR” like it’s a school board or something pic.twitter.com/LWVnl9GOk6
— David Damboise (@notdamboise) June 21, 2020
Even in the sky saying “defund NASCAR” pic.twitter.com/Sdy3n0cOLI
— Paula H Mccullough (@PaulaHMccullou2) June 21, 2020
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. pic.twitter.com/ppwP1ggNjt
— Steve O’Donnell (@odsteve) June 21, 2020
“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.
NASCAR facilities must have video surveillance.
— Harry Grace (@hgrace3) June 22, 2020
This wasn’t Talladega. This was an individual or couple of individuals INSIDE the racing family. Limited access to the garage area means this was someone close. Root out these pathetic cowards and give real race fans a chance to show Wallace they support him.
— terri tucker (@terrikwt_) June 22, 2020
makes you wonder how easy access to the garage areas is
— IAMGEORGEFLOYD (@sm62454886) June 22, 2020
A NASCAR cup racer costs about $200,000 to build. A spare engine is $100,000, and spare chassis another $25,000. Parts and tools, all told, there is well over a million dollars worth of stuff in each garage, so I wonder what security and surveillance must be on a race weekend?
— I am not Spartacus (@faberdp) June 22, 2020
Does anybody know where Jesse Smolet was this weekend?
— jonpa (@jon_jonpa) June 22, 2020
I don’t believe this would really happen. I think it’s totally fake
— Patti T. 🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@salpalpat_pat) June 22, 2020
I would give this some time. Sounds just a little too convenient.
— Michael Davis (@Michael64562637) June 22, 2020
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