NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace ran a special Black Lives Matter paint scheme at Martinsville Speedway on Wednesday to promote racial equality amid national and worldwide protests and calls for justice and equality. Wallace, who has been vocal about the movement and is the only black driver in NASCAR's top tier, has been outspoken about the call to end racism and provide equal opportunity to all.
Through Richard Petty Motorsports' social media, he revealed the design and what went into the decision to create a paint scheme honoring the movement.
Now fans can have their own version of the car, as diecast versions are now available to preorder. There are multiple versions and scales available with autographed cars posted for sale as well.
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Wallace spoke about the special edition car saying he believed it would have a major impact. "I think it's going to speak volumes to what I stand for and the initiative that NASCAR the whole sport is trying to push," he said.
He explained the meaning behind not only behind the car, but the movement in general saying:
"It's true, black lives do matter. It's not that we're trying to say other lives don't matter, we're trying to say black lives matter too ... all lives will not matter until black lives matter ... We want to be treated equality and not be judged off our skin color."
His team came up with the idea to do an all-black car and Wallace was on board right away and was excited to help create the look. "Absolutely, that would be incredible," he said. "I jumped all over it."
When deciding which foundation he wanted to mention Wallace said, "Let's make a statement behind it and run a foundation behind it that is helping push the narrative and the initiative of what's going on in the world today, racial inequality. Let's find somebody that aligns with that."
They decided on Black Lives Matter and with the Martinsville race car open, they knew it would be the perfect race to display this message.
He wanted to bring awareness to the movement and knew this lined up with the videos drivers put out about listening, learning and educating themselves.
Wallace emphasized that he hopes people realize what they are trying to do is unite, not divide anyone.
The No. 43 Chevrolet Camaro featured the hashtag, hand-drawn hands and a peace sign with hands of all races in it, which was Richard Petty's contribution and a nod to cars of the 1960s and '70s.
Wallace had high praise for the designers and called it, "Probably one of the best race cars we've been able to do."
He concluded by saying, "Hopefully we can bring a message of compassion, love and understanding in promoting this movement for racial equality" and noted that his team is proud to be part of spreading this message.
Wallace commented that the governing body should ban the confederate flag from races because of the message of hate and divide it often brings. He wants everyone to feel comfortable while attending events.
Shortly after Wallace asked for the flags to be removed, NASCAR officially banned it from events.