Just before today’s race, the entire field of NASCAR teams helped push racer Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 car through pit lane today in a display of solidarity after a noose was found in the Black driver’s garage last night.
The Black Lives Matter movement has come to NASCAR, and it’s already taken down the Confederate flag after decades of feigned resignation. Now, after Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver currently piloting a car in the series, sported a special Black Lives Matter livery on Wednesday, a noose was found hanging in his team’s garage Sunday night.
After many drivers, teams, and NASCAR immediately disavowed the threat against Wallace and an investigation has been launched, today Wallace’s No. 43 car was pushed out for the race with the help of what looks like the entire field of NASCAR teams in an unprecedented display of solidarity for the sport:
They then joined him for the National Anthem and each hugged him, and the driver followed up:
This display of solidarity among the teams comes at a time when the Black Lives Matter movement, followed by the recent murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and countless other POC at the hands of police officers, has inspired millions globally to march for change, tear down statues of slave owners, and finally push traditionally conservative-leaning staples like NASCAR to outright ban the Confederate flag after five years of nicely asking people to leave the racism at home.
Just a few weeks ago, driver Kyle Larson was suspended and put in educational courses after saying the N-word during a live-broadcast virtual race. Larson was a member of NASCAR’s Drive For Diversity program, and was the first Japanese driver to win a race in the Series.
All of this serves as a reminder how much further we have to go, and “how persistent we have to be in the fight against racism,” as Wallace said in his statement after discovering the noose last night.
Today’s Geico 500 race at Talledega can be watched on Fox, starting at 3 p.m. EST.