Nascar drivers walk alongside Bubba Wallace in support after noose found in his garage

‘I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in’

James Crump
Monday 22 June 2020 23:59 BST
NASCAR drivers offer Bubba Wallace show of support after noose found in his garage

Nascar drivers and team staff escorted Bubba Wallace and his car down the pit lane of the Talladega SuperSpeedway - just a day after a noose was found in his garage stall.

Mr Wallace’s car was pushed down the pit lane and followed by a large crowd of drivers and team staff, in a show of support for the 26-year-old, prior to the race on Monday.

A video of the procession, was uploaded to Twitter by Nascar executive vice president, Steve O’Donnell, who captioned the video “No words,” following his post of “#IStandWithBubba” earlier in the day.

Mr Wallace is the first full-time African American Nascar driver, and has been a vocal supporter of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement in recent weeks, amid anti-racism demonstrations across the US, sparked by the death of George Floyd.

Last month, he successfully pushed Nascar bosses to ban the use of Confederate flags at races, and raced with a car that had a BLM paint scheme during an event at the Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Following the walk of support, Mr Wallace posted a short video to Instagram, that showed the drivers behind him, and which he captioned: “Together.”

Monday’s race, that was held in Alabama, was the first time fans have been allowed inside a Nascar venue, since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite Nascar banning Confederate flags, following Mr Wallace’s plea, CNN reported that Confederacy memorabilia was sold at the event over the weekend.

A plane that carried a Confederate flag and a message, that read “Defund the Police” also flew over the track on Sunday.

After the noose was found in Mr Wallace’s garage stall over the weekend, Nascar officials released a statement, where they confirmed they were investigating the incident.

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” the statement read.

“We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”

Nascar added that the incident: “Only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

On Twitter, Mr Wallace posted: “The 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.

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you’,” the 26-year-old wrote. “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.”

On Monday, the Department of Justice said it was still investigating the incident, but was unsure if federal charges can be brought if a culprit is found.

“The US 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,” US attorney Jay E Town said.

“Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”

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