Bubba Wallace took some heat before he competed in the NASCAR All-Star Open, which was the race to qualify for the main event at Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday. AP Sports reporter Jenna Fryer covered the event and wrote on Twitter that fans booed Wallace when he was introduced. And when he crashed 17 laps into the race, the crowd began cheering.
"Bubba Wallace was also booed when he was introduced, and many cheered when he crashed," Fryer wrote. "NASCAR still has a lot of work to do to back up its position. The group Justice 4 Diversity held signs along Speedway Blvd. after the race." After the ace, Wallace called out Michael McDowell for causing him to crash and lose out on a chance to win $1 million. "Just disrespect. When you get hooked the right rear into the wall - I don't even need to see a replay," Wallace said. "People say [he's] one of the nicest guys in the garage. Can't wait for the God-fearing text he's going to send me about preaching and praising respect. What a joke he is."
Odds are this won't be the last time Wallace will be booed this season. The reason fans are upset with Wallace likely has to do with the noose investigation. While at the Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR announced a noose was found in Wallace's garage stall, and it led to an investigation by the FBI. When the investigation ended, law enforcement determined the noose had been there since last year and that Wallace wasn't a victim of a hate crime. That led to fans attacking Wallace, claiming he made up the noose incident despite the fact he was not the person who made the claim.
"It was brought to my attention from NASCAR president Steve Phelps; he came into my motorhome," Wallace said on Steve Harvey's STEVE on Watch. Wallace also said Phelps "had tears in his eyes, I had tears in my eyes, and he said 'We are gonna get to the bottom of this and find this person that did it.'" Wallace is glad the noose wasn't targeted at him but is convinced someone tied a noose a purpose at the garage stall. Along with the noose incident, Wallace spoke out against the Confederate flag at races, which led to NASCAR banning the flag at future events. A Confederate flag was seen flying over Bristol Motor Speedway before the race.