Racism hits NASCAR as noose found in garage of black driver Bubba Wallace

NASCAR has confirmed that a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace at Sunday’s race in Talladega, Alabama.

Wallace is the only black driver who competes full-time in NASCAR’s elite Cup Series.

Two weeks ago, he successfully pushed for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and properties.

NASCAR released a statement saying it had launched an immediate investigation.

“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in the statement.

“[We] will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.

“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Despite the ban on Confederate flags, the Southern symbol was still seen on sale across the street from the speedway at Talladega, and a plane flew overhead pulling a banner of the flag, with the words “Defund NASCAR.”

A NASCAR driver stands at a track in a shirt saying "I can't breathe, Black Lives Matter".

A NASCAR driver stands at a track in a shirt saying "I can't breathe, Black Lives Matter".

Bubba Wallace is the only black driver who competes full-time in NASCAR’s elite Cup series.(AP: Brynn Anderson)

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Wallace launched his campaign to ban the Confederate flag in the wake of the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, that led to widespread protests against police brutality.

Wallace, an Alabama native, wore a T-shirt carrying the words “I Can’t Breathe, Black Love Matters” before a NASCAR race on June 7.

He acknowledged the racist incident at Talladega in a post on social media.

“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we have to be in the fight against racism,” Wallace said.

“Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage.

“Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.

“Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.

“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you’.

A Confederate flag flutters in the wind, with a motor racing grandstand in the background.

A Confederate flag flutters in the wind, with a motor racing grandstand in the background.

The Confederate flag is seen by some as a symbol of Southern US heritage and a memorial of the Civil War.(AP: Terry Renna, File photo)

AP/ABC