On Sunday night, NASCAR revealed that a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage during the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and has been outspoken about racial inequality.
NASCAR immediately released a statement condemning the act and announced they were launching an investigation into the matter.
"Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. 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 wrote. "As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all."
On Monday, the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights division announced that they are investigating the incident as well.
Wallace tweeted out a response on Sunday night, commenting on what he has noticed throughout the sport for the past weeks and what he hopes will happen going forward"
"Today's 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. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate."
NASCAR president Steve Phelps says there is no room for this in the sport and whoever was responsible "will be banned from this sport for life."
He adds, "I don't care who they are, they will not be here."
Richard Petty released a statement on the matter calling it a "filthy act."
Petty said he stands "shoulder to shoulder with Bubba yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward."
Many athletes from all across sports took to social media to show support for Wallace. Here are some of their reactions:
Hope Bubba wins it tomorrow.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 22, 2020
I don’t worry about our sport. I have confidence NASCAR’s leadership will find who did this and continue pushing us in the right direction. I do worry about Bubba. I hope Bubba is feeling loved and supported. Keep sending him that love and support. He needs it now more than ever.— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 22, 2020
I’ll race with him on Sunday and ride with him on a Monday. I do this because he’s family, our @NASCAR family!!! It’s hard for me to comprehend all this, but one thing is for sure...When you f*ck with family you’re f*cking with us all. @BubbaWallace #ivealwaysstoodwithbubba pic.twitter.com/e6pDDmXu6J— Clint Bowyer (@ClintBowyer) June 22, 2020
Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! @NASCAR I salute you as well! 🙏🏾✊🏾👑 https://t.co/1TwkjVHai5— LeBron James (@KingJames) June 22, 2020
Doug Jones, United States Senator from Alabama, released a statement.
We’re with you Bubba. The journey to racial justice has taken far too long. Keep your eyes on @bubbawallace at Talladega, keep that racist’s noose in your thoughts and ask: when will this end? Maybe Bubba can get us to that checkered flag 🏁 a bit sooner. It’s time America. https://t.co/dK51FgnjoR— Doug Jones (@DougJones) June 22, 2020
NASCAR is allowing the No. 43 team to inspect Wallace's vehicle to ensure nothing was tampered with, according to reports.
He spoke out recently, asking NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at races, saying it makes many feel uncomfortable and unwelcome at events. NASCAR listened, and announced the flag was banned shortly after. They also lifted a requirement on standing for the national anthem.