Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said Monday morning that she was “shocked and appalled” at the placement of a noose in the garage stall for Bubba Wallace’s car at Talladega on Sunday.
Wallace is the only Black driver who races full-time at NASCAR’s top level. NASCAR said Sunday night that it’s investigating the incident and that it would work to ban whomever placed the noose in Wallace’s garage.
“I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against Bubba Wallace in Talladega,” Ivey said in a statement. “There is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state. Racism and threats of this nature will not be condoned nor tolerated and I commit to assisting in any way possible to ensure that the person responsible for this is caught and punished. While the important conversation of racial reconciliation is ongoing all over our country, it is clear there is much work to do. Bubba Wallace is one of us; he is a native of Mobile and on behalf of all Alabamaians I apologize to Bubba Wallace as well as to his family and friends for the hurt this has caused and regret the mark this leaves on our state. I ask the NASCAR family to rally around Bubba and his team as they compete today and I know that there are more people who are wishing him well today than ever before.”
Garage access at Talladega is limited because of the coronavirus pandemic. Hours have been modified and only those with work-related access are approved to enter the garage. The limited number of fans attending Sunday’s race — postponed to Monday afternoon because of rain — are not allowed to enter the infield.
The noose was discovered by a member of Wallace’s No. 43 team and the FBI is investigating.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI, and the department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” U.S. Attorney Jay Town said in a statement. “Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
The race was set to be the first Cup Series race at Talladega and in the state of Alabama since NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban on June 10. Wallace was a strong advocate for the ban and said on CNN two days before the flag was officially barred from NASCAR tracks that he wanted to see it prohibited.
NASCAR called the placement of the noose a “heinous” act on Sunday. The sanctioning body has spoken out against racial injustice and inequality since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and even held a moment of silence before its Cup Series race on May 31.
Petty attending Monday’s race
Wallace drives for Richard Petty Motorsports, the team owned by the seven-time champion and NASCAR legend who won 200 Cup Series races throughout his career.
RPM said Monday morning that Petty, 82, would be in attendance at Monday’s race in support of Wallace. Petty has not been at any of the races since NASCAR resumed racing on May 17 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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