NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace insists he will not “back down” is his battle to rid racism from the sport after a noose was found in his garage.
Wallace, who recently successfully campaigned to have the Confederate flag banned from Nascar events, is the only full-time black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
The governing body revealed the noose had been discovered in his stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” their statement read.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and 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.”
Responding to the incident, Wallace released his own statement on Twitter, praising the largely-positive response to his recent campaigns while condemning the “reprehensible action” of placing a noose in his garage.
“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 must be in the fight against racism,” he wrote.
“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.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
The lack of diversity in motorsport saw Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton launch his own commission to bring more black people to the fore.
Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. #blacklivesmatter ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/koOTEPOXAh
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) June 21, 2020
Hamilton also revealed on Twitter that he had joined Sunday’s Black Lives Matter protests in Hyde Park, seemingly incognito.
He wrote: “Went down to Hyde Park today for the peaceful protest and I was so proud to see in person so many people of all races and backgrounds supporting this movement. It was really moving. I’m feeling extremely positive that change will come, but we cannot stop now. #blacklivesmatter.”
Formula One announced on Monday morning a #WeRaceAsOne initiative would be launched when the season gets under way in Austria next month.
“As Formula 1 returns after a four-month break, we believe we must return with added purpose and determination to tackle the major issues that we as a sport, but also society, are facing,” a statement read.
“Those issues are important to the longer-term future of our sport, but equally have a major impact on the communities we race in and countries around the world.”
The project will see rainbows displayed on all cars and around the circuit to say “thank you” to key workers, while “visual displays” of support in the fight against racism will also be on view.