On June 21, a noose was found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall by a member of Wallace’s crew. Wallace, the only full-time NASCAR driver who is Black, was shocked and saddened by the grim discovery, calling it a “despicable act of racism and hatred” in a tweet.
NASCAR, too, condemned the shocking act and launched an immediate investigation to determine the culprit and ban them from the organization.
The noose was found ahead of a race at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, on June 22. In a show of solidarity following the horrifying incident, the other drivers competing in the race helped to escort Wallace’s car to the starting line.
They also stood with him throughout the national anthem and pre-race prayer.
Wallace tweeted out this selfie with his fellow drivers behind him, captioning it “Together.”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
He also tweeted this video of the display of support, which he captioned with two simple words: “My family.”
My family. pic.twitter.com/031TvNDopA
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 23, 2020
Toward the end of the clip, it’s clear that the other drivers’ gesture had moved Wallace to tears.
Wallace has been vocal in recent weeks about his support for the Black Lives Matter movement and the fight for racial equality and justice. He took NASCAR to task for its acceptance of the Confederate flag at NASCAR events and suggested that the racing organization ban the flag.
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags,” Wallace told CNN earlier this month. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
NASCAR responded by announcing on Twitter that the Confederate flag would be prohibited at NASCAR events from now on. The June 10 tweet stated that the Confederate flag at NASCAR events “runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020
Wallace praised the move to ban the Confederate flag at NASCAR races, saying it “allows the community to come together as one,” according to Sports Illustrated.
And although he came in 14th place in Monday’s race, the NASCAR star still considered the day a victory.
“The sport is changing,” he told Fox Sports. “The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life.”
“From all the supporters, from drivers to crew members, everybody here, the badass fan base, thank you guys for coming out,” Wallace continued. “This is truly incredible, and I’m glad to be a part of this sport.”