The FB investigating after someone covertly left a noose inside a black NASCAR driver’s garage stall.
Chicago Tribune reports that the FBI is investigating after a team member discovered the noose inside NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the first black man to drive full-time for NASCAR. He also won a truck series race at Martinsville, Virginia in 2013, sponsored by NASCAR.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement after learning about the incident.
“We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
Wallace, according to the outlet, recently pushed NASCAR to ban the confederate flag at NASCAR venues. The flag restriction apparently angered some fans; they drove by the main entrance of the Talladega track in Alabama while a plane overhead pulled a banner that read, “Defund NASCAR.”
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race. It starts with Confederate flags,” Wallace previously said, according to CNN. “Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
Wallace has been a staunch supporter of equal rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, and peaceful protests. He recently wore an “I Can’t Breathe,” t-shirt in support of George Floyd, a black man killed in Minnesota after a now-former police officer held his knee on Floyd’s neck for at least eight minutes.
Following the incident, Wallace tweeted that he could continue to take a stand for his beliefs.
“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. -Bubba Wallace”
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
CNN reports that a Richard Petty Motorsports source said that Wallace never saw the noose. A team member found it and reportedly alerted NASCAR.
Atlanta’s Cold Case Investigative Research Institute Director, Sheryl McCollum, theorized that the noose incident was likely an inside job.
“From the moment you drive onto this facility you are on camera. Then there are checkpoints and restricted access,” McCollum said. “There is no way an outsider or person off the street gained access to that area. This secure area where this occurred is only available to race team members, NASCAR officials, track workers, as well as, security, medical and safety personnel.”
Authorities haven’t said whether they have any suspects in connection with the incident. However, NASCAR told CNN that the garage stalls are restricted to essential personnel only.
Wallace is scheduled to race at Talladega at 3:10 p.m. on Monday. NASCAR drivers are planning to show Wallace support prior to the race, according to CNN.
Check back for updates.
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[Feature Photo: Bubba Wallace via AP/Wilfredo Lee]