NASCAR driver Denny Hamlin regularly races in a purple and white Toyota Camry featuring the FedEx logo. This will not be the case during Sunday's Geico 500. Hamlin and FedEx switched up the paint scheme and unveiled a blacked-out design that highlights the National Civil Rights Museum.
Hamlin revealed the change with a series of photos on Twitter. He explained that he took time on Thursday to visit the National Civil Rights Museum. Hamlin referred to this visit as an informative, eye-opening experience and said that the NCRM took time to educate him about essential topics. Following this educational experience, both Hamlin and FedEx decided to highlight the NCRM during Sunday's race as part of his ongoing promise to listen amid ongoing protests about racial injustice.
Thanks to @JamieLittleTV for some looks at the Denny Hamlin paint scheme supporting the National Civil Rights Museum ... FedEx is a big supporter of the museum in Memphis. #nascar @NASCARONFOX pic.twitter.com/2yQsn8SmYm— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 21, 2020
"I promised to listen, and that's what I'm doing. Today you will see my #11 car will not carry the traditional paint scheme that you usually see. @FedEx and myself instead want to give that voice to the @NCRMuseum. Exhibit photos courtesy of the NCRM," Hamlin tweeted on Sunday. He became the second driver — following Bubba Wallace — to drive a completely black car during a Cup Series race to show support for racial equality.
"Thanks @dennyhamlin That museum is sobering. I always get educated every time I go. The people who work there are patient and answer my questions with complete sincerity. Good luck today. Be safe," one fan commented in response to Hamlin's new car design. Several fans supported the decision to highlight the NCRM, but others disagreed. A few Twitter users referred to Hamlin as a "sellout" based on his design.
Several NASCAR drivers have joined forces amid ongoing nationwide protests. Hamlin joined Wallace, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney and many other peers to create a video about fighting systemic racism. They all posted the PSA on their respective Twitter accounts ahead of the Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 in Atlanta. This movement paired with NASCAR President Steve Phelps stopping the pace laps to discuss how the sport and the country both must be better.
"Thank you for your time," NASCAR President Steve Phelps said during a speech to the drivers on Sunday. "Our country is in pain and people are justifiably angry, demanding to be heard. The Black community and all people of color have suffered in our country, and it has taken far too long for us to hear their demands for change. Our sport must do better. Our country must do better.
"The time is now to listen, to understand and to stand against racism and racial injustice. We ask our drivers ... and all our fans to join us in this mission, to take a moment of reflection, to acknowledge that we must do better as a sport, and join us as we now pause and take a moment to listen."