The governor of Alabama has condemned the discovery of a noose found in the pit stall of Bubba Wallace at Talladega Speedway yesterday, leading to the FBI opening an investigation to eliminate the perpetrators of the “heinous act.”
NASCAR’s sole black driver, Wallace successfully saw the abolishment of the Confederate flag from all events earlier in the year due to the racist connotations and representation of slavery.
“Late yesterday afternoon a crew member from the 43 team discovered a noose in the 43 garage stall,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps. “That crew member informed NASCAR. NASCAR security got involved. I got a small group of senior leaders in the sport at NASCAR together to try to determine what the next steps would be.
“First thing was to launch an immediate investigation into this heinous act. As part of that, we this morning at 7:30 notified the Birmingham office of the FBI. They are currently on‑site. They’ve started their investigation.
“We are, as I said, in the early stages of this. We will continue to keep the media informed as we learn more. Obviously, this is a very, very serious act. We take it as such. We will do everything in our power to make sure that whoever has committed this act comes to justice and comes to light and we rid this type of behaviour from our sport.”
US Attorney Jay Town said the FBI and the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division were currently reviewing the situation.
“Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town said.
Situated in the southern state of Alabama, NASCAR was set to face its most resentful crowd yet at Monday’s race as many fans donned Confederate flags outside the main gate while planes overhead carried banners reading “Defund NASCAR.”
Wallace responded to the incident on Twitter:
“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,” he said.
Before the race, the words #IStandWithBubba were seen stencilled on the grass near the race track’s pitlane.
Main Image: Getty