NASCAR’s only black driver, Bubba Wallace, is taking a stand against the current of racism that runs through the sport he loves. His new Black Lives Matter racing livery speaks volumes about his commitment to making equality a central issue in the sport.
NASCAR, it is fair to say, doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to including people of color in the sport. Drivers of color are few and the Confederate flag is still considered a mainstay at races by some fans, despite NASCAR requesting fans leave them at home in 2015. And just this past April, driver Kyle Larson used a racial epithet during a virtual race.
But Wallace’s team and fellow drivers are joining millions of people around the globe protesting police brutality and racial inequality following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. Richard Petty Motorsports announced the move last night on Twitter:
Wallace and other drivers are also pushing for an outright ban on displaying the Confederate flag anywhere at NASCAR events by either confiscating the times or turning away fans. Wallace was photographed sporting a Black Lives Matter t-shirt during Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Folds of Honor Quiktrip 500, according to CNN. Wallace also tweeted a video featuring his fellow drivers.
Wallace had significant input on the paint scheme that was revealed on RPM’s social media channels.
“I’m excited for this opportunity to run #BlackLivesMatter on the car for Martinsville,” Wallace said in a video posted on Richard Petty Motorsports’ Twitter handle.
“This statement that we have right here. … Running this race car. Being on live television. I think it’s going to speak volumes for what I stand for, but also what the initiative that NASCAR, the whole sport, is trying to push.”
“I think the two fists — the black fist and the white fist — going hand in hand speaks volumes, says a lot. Has a lot of power behind it,” Wallace said.
Running this car at Martinsville has deep meaning for Wallace. It was the course where he won his first national series race in 2013 while driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports. It’s also near the hometown of NASCAR Hall-of-Famer Wendell Scott, the only black driver to win a NASCAR Cup Series race.