Noose found in stall of Bubba Wallace at Alabama NASCAR race
TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) - At NASCAR race in Alabama on Sunday, less than two weeks after successfully forcing the stock car racing series to ban the Confederate flag, a noose was found in the garage stand of black driver Bubba Wallace and Facilities.
NASCAR said it had launched an immediate investigation and would do anything to find out who was responsible and exclude them from the sport.
"We are angry and outraged and cannot say enough how seriously we take this heinous act," the series said. "As we have clearly established, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only reinforces our determination to make the sport open and welcome to everyone."
Wallace is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR's Elite Cup series. On Twitter, he said, "The despicable act of racism and hate makes me incredibly sad and painfully reminds me of how far we have to go as a society and how persistent we have to be in the fight against racism."
"As my mother said to me today," They're just trying to scare you, "he wrote. '' It won't break me, I won't give in, nor will I back away. I will continue to stand proud for what I believe in . ''
The noose was discovered on the same day that banning the young flag of NASCAR was the most challenging. The ban came into effect before the race near Miami last week, but only about 1,000 military personnel were admitted to the race.
In Talladega in the heart of the south, up to 5,000 fans were admitted, although the rain postponed the race to Monday and visitors were excluded from the infield.
There were no immediate reports of how many flags were seized or possibly removed on the route - but the flag was nearby. There were informal protests on Saturday and Sunday, during which cars and pickups drove flags on nearby roads and drove past the entrance of the super speedway. A small plane flew over us and pulled a banner with the flag and the words "Defund NASCAR".
NASCAR did not recognize the plane, even though managing director Steve O'Donnell tweeted a picture of black and white hands that trembled with the words: "You don't see a photo of a donkey flying a flag over the route ... but You I'll see that. "Rapper Ice Cube tweeted about the plane and said," (Expletive) him NASCAR, you have new fans in this household. "
Wallace, a 26-year-old Alabama native who drives number 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports, said he found support from other drivers for his stance on the flag. He noticed that after the noose announcement.
"For the past few weeks, I have been overwhelmed with the support of people from across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and tea members in the garage," he said. '' Together, our sport has committed itself to seizing real opportunities and working for a community that accepts and welcomes everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be put off by the reprehensible actions of those who want to spread hatred. ''
Wallace's 2013 win in a Truck Series race was only the second in a black driver's NASCAR national series (Wendell Scott, 1963), helping him get into the Cup series where he drives for the Hall of Famer Richard Petty and to Climbing is forced for sponsorship dollars.
For years, NASCAR has tried to distance itself from the Confederate flag, which has long been part of its moonlit roots since it was founded over 70 years ago. Five years ago, former chairman Brian France attempted to ban flag flying on rails, a proposal that has not been enforced and largely ignored.
This year was different and it was Wallace who led the charge. Last month, when the nation was hit by social unrest, largely related to the death of George Floyd, Wallace wore a black "I can't breathe" t-shirt at a race and had a (hash) BlackLivesMatter- Color scheme at another.
Wallace, whose father is white, did not always speak out for racism; Even after Floyd was killed in Minneapolis police custody last month, he wasn't the first driver to advocate equality. He said he started finding his public voice on racism after watching a video of Ahmaud Arbery's fatal shooting in Georgia in May. He said he now realized that he shouldn't waste his platform as a prominent driver.
NBA star LeBron James tweeted Wallace's support and called the noose "sick!"
'' You know you are not alone! I'm right here with you and every other athlete, ”James wrote. "I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you that you continue to work for change here in America and in sports!"
Talladega is one of the noisier stations in the NASCAR program, but the coronavirus pandemic, like all sports, prompted the series to ban or severely restrict fans for months. The scene this weekend was a dramatic departure from the Talladega norm with plenty of room for social distancing and fans who were asked to wear masks.
''It is strange. It's scary, ”said 32-year-old David Radvansky from a suburb of Atlanta who brought his wife and boys 3 and 6 with them.
Radvansky, who came to Talladega in the 1990s when his father left cars at races, welcomed NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag.
"I don't think there is a place in NASCAR to be honest," said the 32-year-old. '' It doesn't go well with all the good old boys, but it's what it is. ''
Directly opposite the route, Ed Suggs' goods tent wielded Confederate flags in a display next to Trump 2020 banners and an American flag.
"They are doing very well," said Sugg, a resident of Helena, Alabama, who has been selling a range of goods at NASCAR races for 21 years. `` People are disappointed that NASCAR has taken this stance. It's been around as long as we all have.
"I don't think anyone really associates it with any kind of racism or anything," he said. '' It's just a Mediterranean thing. It is transparent. It's just a legacy. ''
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