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NASCAR drivers display their support for Bubba Wallace following noose incident

Bubba Wallace takes a photo of himself and other drivers at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bubba Wallace takes a photo of himself and other drivers at Talladega Superspeedway before the start of Monday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

A day after a noose was discovered in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the rest of NASCAR showed its support of the Cup Series’ only Black full-time driver.

With Wallace steering and Kyle Busch and Ryan Blaney pushing the No. 43 car, the rest of the drivers and crew members followed to the front of pit road before the start of Monday’s race at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

After the display, Wallace sat on the edge of the car’s window and sobbed. Team owner Richard Petty was there to place a comforting hand on the driver’s shoulder. It was the first race the 82-year-old racing legend has attended since NASCAR resumed its season May 17 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area,” Petty said earlier in a statement. “I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”

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Also at Talladega, the hashtag"#IStandWithBubba” had been painted in the grass.

Earlier this month, Wallace urged NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at its events in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. A day later, the ban was in place.

On Sunday in Talladega, people in vehicles lined the road outside the speedway displaying the Confederate flag and a plane flew over the track pulling a banner with the message “Defund NASCAR.” A group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans has claimed responsibility for the plane banner.

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Because of thunderstorms, the race was postponed to Monday. The noose was found Sunday afternoon by a member of Wallace’s crew and reported to NASCAR.

U.S. Atty. Jay E. Town announced Monday that his office, the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the incident.

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


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