NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace's mother, Desiree Wallace, detailed past instances of racism her son has faced in the past. In a radio interview Monday, Desiree said Wallace was called the "n-word" and told he "doesn't" belong before. Wallace, the only full-time Black NASCAR driver, has been an outspoken Black Lives Matter supporter. NASCAR spent the week investigating an apparent noose found in Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway on June 21.
During an interview on The Joe Madison Show, Desiree said the alleged noose was not Wallace's first experience with racism. "He's been involved with incidents on the track," Desiree said, reports Insider. "If he gets into it with another driver they're quick to throw out the n-word. He's been told he doesn't belong here. We've been through all that." However, Desiree said the noose incident was the first time he faced a racist incident of that "magnitude" before.
Desiree told Madison it would be tough to find out who was behind the noose, adding that officials "have names of who was allowed in the garage, so they have that much. But they're going to have to figure out exactly where it came from; if it was one person or several people involved." She said she hoped the person was not a member of her son's team and it would be upsetting if the person was a NASCAR employee.
It was NASCAR that announced the alleged noose was found, not Wallace, and immediately launched an investigation. On Thursday, NASCAR President Steve Phelps announced the results of the investigation and said Wallace's garage was the only one with a noose tied at the end of a pull-down rope. Only 11 of 1,684 garage stalls examined had pulls with knots tied at the end. The FBI also investigated and found Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime, finding the noose was there since last year.
Wallace, who finished 20th in the Pocono 350 Sunday, said he was still "standing proud," despite the FBI's investigation. Wallace said he had never seen the rope since he was not allowed in the garage due to coronavirus restrictions. When he saw the photos though, he believed it was a noose and still hoped to find out why the pull was tied that way.
"The image that I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull," Wallace said on CNN. "I've been racing all my life. We've raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. People that want to call it a garage pull put out old videos and photos of knots as their evidence, go ahead... it's a straight-up noose."
Wallace has also been compared to Jussie Smollett, the actor who claimed he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019. Wallace saw those comments and insisted it was not a publicity stunt. "People that know me, know I'm 100 percent raw and real and I just go out and give my all on the racetrack," Wallace said. "And I'm the human being everybody else is off the race track. I put my pants on the same way."