NASCAR has launched an investigation after somebody hung a noose in the garage stall of driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega over the weekend. Wallace is the only black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
"We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act, "NASCAR said in a statement. "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 issued a statement on Twitter calling the incident a "despicable act of racism and hatred" that "serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism."
"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," Wallace wrote.
The Department of Justice said that multiple agencies are reviewing the incident to determine if any federal laws were broken.
"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. Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society," the DOJ said in a statement.
Following the death of George Floyd, Wallace called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which they did on June 10. That same day, Wallace raced in a car promoting Black Lives Matter.
Racing fans did not bring any Confederate flags into Talladega, but a parade of cars and trucks flying the flag drove around near the entrance to the racetrack. Somebody flew an airplane towing a Confederate flag banner with the words "Defund NASCAR" over the track.
The race was ultimately postponed until Monday (June 22) because of the weather.