Bubba Wallace sent a message to the person who left a noose in his garage at the Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday. After the Geico 500 on Monday afternoon, Wallace spoke to reporters about his fellow NASCAR drivers standing with him at the start of the race. Wallace finished 14th in Monday's race but felt like the biggest winner on the track. When Wallace talked to reporters, he apologized for not wearing a mask but said he didn't want to put it on because "I wanted to show whoever it was: You are not going to take away my smile.''
"This sport is changing,'' Wallace said via ESPN. "The prerace deal was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to witness in my life. From all the supporters, from drivers to crew members, everybody here, the badass fan base, thank you guys for coming out. This is truly incredible, and I'm glad to be a part of this sport.''
Wallace, NASCAR's only full-time black driver, was joined by all 39 other drivers, and they pushed his No. 43 car to the front of the line before the race. When the car got to the front, Wallace got very emotional when he climbed out of the car and embraced his fellow drivers. A limited number of fans were allowed to attend the race, and many of them were wearing "Black Lives Matter" and "I 'Can't Breathe" shirts. Ryan Blaney won the race and told ESPN's Scott Van Pelt the drivers wanted to show Wallace they have his back.
"So we just wanted to show our support," Blaney said. "I wanted to show my support for my best friend. He's just been someone I've really, really loved for a long time, and I'm gonna support him 100 percent along the way for many years to come." According to ESPN's Marty Smith, Richard Petty traveled to Talladega to be there for Wallace, who drivers the No. 43 Chevrolet for Richard Petty Motorsports.
Wallace has been a big advocate for significant changes in NASCAR. He wanted the league to ban Confederate flags at races, and NASCAR quickly agreed, which led to some backlash among fans. On Sunday, a large Confederate flag banner flew above the Talladega Superspeedway that read "Defund NASCAR."