A day after a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time African-American driver, all of NASCAR’s drivers as well as legend Richard Petty stood in solidarity with Wallace ahead of the Geico 500 at Talladega. Wallace was moved to tears by the show of support.
Wallace was surrounded by all 39 drivers of the race, as well as their crews as they walked with his car from the pit to the first position of the race. Wallace, who drives for legendary racer Richard Petty, sat in his #43 car in tears as the car moved into position.
Wallace climbed out of the car and cried with his head in the roof of the car. Petty came over and consoled him. Wallace was then surrounded and greeted by the other drivers. They then all stood stood for the playing of the national anthem.
The idea for the gesture came up earlier Monday. Jimmie Johnson said in a drivers chat that he would stand with Wallace during the national anthem. Then, Kevin Harvick had the idea that they should have the drivers push Wallace’s car to the front.
Workers also painted “#IStandWithBubbaWallace” on the infield grass before Monday’s race, which was postponed from Sunday because of inclement weather.
Wallace did not actually see the noose that hung over his car in the garage, but said in a statement Sunday that he was “incredibly saddened” by the act.
Petty, the 82-year-old Hall of Fame driver known as “The King”, issued a scathing rebuke after the noose was found that called for the “sick person” to be expelled from NASCAR forever — a move NASCAR president Steve Phelps insisted would happen should they be caught.
Authorities said Monday that the FBI is investigating the discovery of the noose, and the governor of Alabama condemned the act against Wallace.
SOURCE: ESPN, Nascar, Fox Sports