The FBI and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division are investigating the noose found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time Black driver. The racial attack comes as Wallace has led the charge for change within NASCAR, which banned the display of the Confederate flag two weeks ago. The investigation is to determine whether there were violations of federal law.
Yesterday’s race at Alabama’s Talladega Superspeedway was seen as the first significant test of that ban. While the flag was not seen on display inside the racetrack, it was displayed outside by protestors and vendors reportedly sold them. A banner was also flown over the speedway with the message, “Defund NASCAR.”
Wallace has seen an outpouring of support from his fellow drivers and the NASCAR organization. “This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down,” Wallace wrote in a statement.
Ahead of yesterday’s race – which was postponed from Sunday due to inclement weather – dozens of drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the field in a show of solidarity. Legendary driver Richard Petty, who owns the team Wallace is on, also appeared at the race. “This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice,” Petty said.