When NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at all future races, many fans expressed their unhappiness about the decision. Driver Bubba Wallace, who was instrumental in the policy change, believes that these unhappy fans will peacefully protest NASCAR. This protest is well within their rights, but Wallace said that the police likely wouldn't respond in the same manner as they have during protests about systemic racism and police brutality.
"It's the right for peaceful protests," Wallace said, per Yahoo! Sports. "It's part of it. But you won't see them inside of the race tracks where we're having a good time with the new fans that have purchased their tickets and purchased their favorite driver's apparel. You won't see it flying in there. Outside, they're just going to be making a lot of noise. It's part of it. It's exactly what you see on the flip side of everything going on in cities as they peacefully protest. But we won't see cops pepper-spraying them and shooting them with rubber bullets, will you?"
This comment referenced situations taking place around the country amid the ongoing protests. The increased numbers of protesters prompted an enlarged police presence, as well as the use of tear gas and rubber bullets when the protests turned violent. Additionally, President Donald Trump ordered rubber bullets used against peaceful protesters outside the White House on June 1. This incident took place before a photo op in front of St. Johns Episcopal Church.
NASCAR has only held two events with fans following the ban of the Confederate flag. An estimated 1,000 military members attended the Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway while 5,000 fans showed up for the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway. Both events occurred without significant incidents, but the Sons of Confederate Veterans paid to have a plane fly a massive Confederate flag banner over Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.
The race did not take place on the same day as the demonstration due to the inclement weather. NASCAR moved the Geico 500 to Monday afternoon. However, the track — and Wallace — drew further attention when a crew member discovered a garage door rope pull with a noose tied in the end. The FBI conducted an investigation and repeatedly referred to the cord as a noose, ultimately confirming that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.
Despite these findings by the FBI, vocal Twitter users made comments about Wallace and racing's governing body. They alleged that the driver of the No. 43 was part of an "elaborate hoax" to build his brand. Wallace is very aware of these individuals and is using them as motivation to perform better on the track.0comments
"I know people are going to try to knock me and bump me off the throne, the pedestal I'm on, the same pedestal that I've been on for 16 or 17 years now since I started," Wallace said. "So, I'm fine with it. It's fine. I love to get out and compete and have really good runs. It's just motivation to go out and to have really good races.
"We'll never shut them up. They're afraid of themselves. They're afraid of change. Sometimes those are the people that you can't help throughout all the chaos in the world. Those are the ones who need the most help. But, you quickly realize they don't give a d— about you and I don't give a d— about them."