Monday afternoon, the NASCAR drivers, pit crews and other garage members came together to support Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the Cup Series, after someone left a noose in his garage. After they pushed his No. 43 Chevrolet to the front of the grid, Wallace took a selfie showing everyone gathered as a sign of unity. He simply captioned the photo with "Together."
The Cup Series drivers had teased a sign of support ahead of the rescheduled Geico 500. They didn't fully explain how they would support Wallace, but motorsports reporter Dustin Albino said the drivers would push the No. 43 car to the front of the grid in unison. He also said they would stand around Wallace during the national anthem. This report proved to be true, and NASCAR Executive VP Steve O'Donnell posted video evidence on Twitter.
Together pic.twitter.com/D4zW3jA5y5— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
The drivers and pit crews were not the only NASCAR industry members to show support for Wallace following the noose incident. Team owner Richard Petty, who brought Wallace into the Cup Series in 2017, made the journey to Talladega Superspeedway for Monday's race. The 82-year-old Petty hasn't attended a race amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but sources told ESPN he made the trip because the "most important thing for me right now is hugging my driver."
"I'm enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team," Petty said in a statement. "There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change. The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR."
There have been ongoing discussions since a crew member discovered the noose hanging in Wallace's garage. NASCAR and its teams all condemned the "heinous act" and reiterated support for Wallace on Sunday evening and into Monday. Similarly, many Twitter users tweeted that they stand with Wallace and called for racing's governing body to find and punish the person that left the noose in the garage.
Some Twitter users, on the other hand, have made critical comments about this incident. Some have alleged that Wallace made up the incident in order to gain publicity. NASCAR President Steve Phelps heard this criticism and responded during a conference call with reporters. He said that this is something that personally offends him and that the incident with the noose was "terrible, terrible act."