After NASCAR’s race at Talladega was postponed for rain, the organization announced late Sunday night that a noose had been discovered inside the garage of Bubba Wallace, the circuit’s only Black driver and the man who was brave enough to urge NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag.
The incident is currently under investigation by both the Department of Justice and the FBI. Because of NASCAR’s COVID-19 regulations, only essential personnel have been permitted to be at the track during races, with NASCAR President Steve Phelps previously estimating it to be about 900 people. That includes team members, NASCAR and track officials, safety crews and limited media, which only have press box access not the infield or garage.
Wallace tweeted Sunday that the “despicable act” left him “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.” He concluded: “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.”
After the news broke, ESPN’s Marty Smith, who had been covering the race, joined Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter to share his reaction. He spoke uninterrupted for nearly five minutes about how shocking and disappointing it was that someone with close access to the drivers would do something so hateful.