In an resounding show of support that moved Bubba Wallace to tears, the entire field of NASCAR teams helped push Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet car to the starting line ahead of Monday’s Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
This came a day after a noose was discovered in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, an act that both the auto sanctioning body and the FBI is investigating.
Joining Wallace for the National Anthem, each driver hugged the NASCAR Cup Series’ only Black driver on Talladega’s infield, where #IStandWithBubba was predominantly painted.
Wallace, whose outspoken interviews and social media posts decrying racism amid the George Floyd protests led to NASCAR’s Confederate flag ban, shared a picture immediately following the moving moment of solidarity.
Immediately following reports of the noose incident in Wallace’s garage area, NASCAR drivers and leadership members were extremely vocal in their support of Alabama native.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said of the stunt, “I would say that is something that personally offends me. This is a terrible, terrible act that has happened. For those who would think that this is staged, I wouldn’t know where to go with that.”
NASCAR’s Executive Vice President Steve O’Donnell also shared a video of the NASCAR’s moment of unity in a tweet, along with the caption “No words.”
Ahead of Monday’s race, Phelps had made it clear that all of NASCAR would be rallying around Wallace in a strong way.
“The drivers feel very strongly that they want to show their support of Bubba,” Phelps said.
“He’s a member of the NASCAR community. He’s a member of the NASCAR family. The outpouring of support over the last couple weeks from our drivers, from the industry as a whole, from the fans, has been phenomenal. Whatever happens, it’s going to happen organically. It will be heartfelt. I’m looking forward to whatever they come up with.”
Richard Petty, seven-time Cup Series champion and owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, was also quick to lend support for his driver.
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team,” Petty said in statement on Monday. “There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change.”
“I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day forwards.”