Noose found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega
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NASCAR is investigating a noose being placed in the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway garage stall of NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace on Sunday.

Wallace, the only Black full-time driver on the NASCAR circuit, has been a leader in advocating for NASCAR to take a bigger role against racism and for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which it did on June 10.

NASCAR statement on a noose in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace: #nascar pic.twitter.com/rhBpywQ288

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 22, 2020

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” NASCAR said Sunday night in a statement. “We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act.”

Only NASCAR crew members, NASCAR officials, safety workers and other essential personnel are supposed to have access to the garage area because of COVID-19 protocols. NASCAR did not release any details on how the noose was positioned inside the garage stall. It said it would release those details after completing the investigation.

NASCAR said it will work with law enforcement agencies on any criminal investigation.

NASCAR says it will work with law enforcement to determine if any crimes have been committed.of a noose being placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall.

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 22, 2020

The disturbing news comes in the wake of both Wallace and NASCAR being involved in drastic change around the sport. Here’s a timeline of recent events leading up to Sunday’s incident.

June 1: After the May 25 death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, where four police officers have been charged in connection with his murder, Wallace and NASCAR pledged to advocate for change when it comes to racism and racial inequality.

pic.twitter.com/ALtTVvzfoy

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 1, 2020

June 7: At the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Wallace wore a shirt that said “I Can’t Breathe,” a NASCAR official took a knee during the national anthem, and several drivers contributed to a video put together by Wallace and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson stating that they would advocate for change.

✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/GzkbpEAROM

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 7, 2020

I will listen and learn pic.twitter.com/XWgautn4cy

— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) June 7, 2020

There was also a moment of silence prior to the start of the race followed by NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressing the teams about NASCAR’s commitment for change.

A moment of silence and a message from NASCAR President Steve Phelps and drivers. pic.twitter.com/jy1U48qeLX

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 7, 2020

“Our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard “ Phelps said. “The Black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.”

June 8: A day after Atlanta, Wallace appeared on CNN and called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag.

Bubba Wallace on CNN Monday night

“My next step would be getting rid of all Confederate flags” at NASCAR events pic.twitter.com/3c76cl4h1T

— Alan Cavanna (@AlanCavanna) June 9, 2020

June 9: NASCAR announced it would allow 1,000 guests for the June 14th race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, and 5,000 tickets would be sold for the Sunday, June 21 race at Talladega.

Talladega to allow 5,000 guests in grandstands/towers for June 21 race & limited motorhome/5th-wheel camping spots outside backstretch. Tickets first come, first served to those who bought tickets or reserved camping for original race & live within a designated proximity to track

— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 9, 2020

June 10: NASCAR banned the Confederate flag:

“The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”

pic.twitter.com/gJkIfVf3Ba

— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020

That same day at Martinsville, Wallace ran a “Black Lives Matter” paint scheme in what he called the “biggest race” of his career.

“Probably the biggest race of my career.”- @BubbaWallace is ready for Martinsville with his #BlackLivesMatter No. 43 machine.#HotPass | @RPMotorsports pic.twitter.com/52PsRgqR00

— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 10, 2020

June 14: New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara attended the race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to support Wallace after expressing interest in becoming a racing fan when NASCAR banned the Confederate flag.

The two previously met when Wallace visited the University of Tennessee, where Wallace’s mother ran track and Kamara played college football.

💪🏾💪🏾💪🏾 https://t.co/a9QMTAjCcb

— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) June 14, 2020

just a thought….. @HomesteadMiami is 1.5 miles long. I’ve rune 1.5 miles, but when i look at the track it looks like something i’d never wanna do ever in my life 😅

— Alvin Kamara (@A_kamara6) June 14, 2020

June 21All was somewhat quiet for a week until the races scheduled for this weekend, where protesters with Confederate flags were outside off of track property and a plane flew by the track with the Confederate flag and the message “Defund NASCAR.” A group called the “Sons of Confederate Veterans” sent out a news release saying it was responsible for the message.

The race was postponed to Monday because of rain, before NASCAR released a statement late Sunday night about finding the noose.

NASCAR did not release any details on how the noose was positioned inside the garage stall or when it was found or whether it was located in the area where cars are being impounded for the race Monday.

Wallace, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, tweeted a statement Sunday night.

pic.twitter.com/koL655AJB9

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020

“Nothing is more important, and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ 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.”

NASCAR drivers and athletes around the sports world shared their support for Wallace on Sunday night:

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

Hope Bubba wins it tomorrow.

— Dale Earnhardt Jr. (@DaleJr) June 22, 2020

🙏

— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) June 22, 2020

I STAND WITH @BubbaWallace ✊🏿✊🏿❤️ https://t.co/5qDnHrQHKi

— Titus O’Neil (@TitusONeilWWE) June 22, 2020

.@BubbaWallace this is so powerful what you are doing with @NASCAR https://t.co/3wAXBeUt4T

— kuz (@kylekuzma) June 22, 2020

And ESPN NASCAR reporter Marty Smith shared an impassioned plea on SportsCenter Sunday night that went viral across social media.

“It pisses me the hell off and it pisses everybody else in the sport off who care, not only for Bubba, but for every single person he is standing up for.”@MartySmithESPN delivers a passionate message after a noose was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall. pic.twitter.com/hyAbxh7uSW

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 22, 2020

“This sport is in a moment where this crap, this despicable crap is not only not acceptable, but there’s just no place for it. And whomever that is, I hope that you are so ashamed of yourself. I hope that you realize that that is someone’s dignity. And that is someone’s positioning in this sport who has earned his place by talent and by hard work. And he stood up for something that he believed, and he asked for help from other people who believe similarly. And the measures were taken to start taking those steps.

“And then we come down here to a place that I love. I love Talladega, Alabama. It’s my favorite place on the NASCAR tour. It’s my favorite race. I love the staff here. And then some — I’m about to say words I’m not allowed to say. Something like this happens in the garage area? In the garage area of Richard Petty’s race car? For a young man, in Bubba Wallace, who has galvanized so many people, because he was willing to stand up for something that is so long overdue? And NASCAR’s current management, executive level, agrees? That it was time to take this stand?

“And then somebody goes and does this. You’re not just hurting one or two people, whomever you are. You’re hurting a whole lot of people who have made the decision it is damn sure time to go be better. And it pisses me the hell off. And it pisses everybody else in the sport who care. Who care not only for Bubba, but for every single person that he is standing up for.”

This is a developing story.

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