NASCAR drivers help push Bubba Wallace's car to starting line in sign of unity

Omnisport

NASCAR drivers and their crews helped push Bubba Wallace's car to the front of the field prior to Monday’s makeup race, a day after a noose was found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway.

In a demonstration of solidarity, the drivers and crew members walked in droves behind the car with Wallace at the wheel, and then one by one comforted an emotional Wallace and hugged him.

The first to console Wallace was the owner of his car, Richard Petty, who was at the first race he has attended since the season restarted amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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The seven-time NASCAR champion, who turns 83 next month, said in a statement that he was “enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team.”

He went on to say: “I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”

Prior to the makeup race, #IStandWithBubba was printed on the infield grass of the track. 

Wallace, the division's only black driver, has spoken out about racial injustice and racism in recent weeks, and helped push NASCAR to ban the Confederate flags from its races, events and properties.

The Confederate flag has deep roots to some Americans who live in the south, though it is viewed by some as a symbol of slavery and racism.

Confederate flags were still seen on Sunday outside of the main entrance to the Alabama race track, and a plane flew over the track pulling a banner of the flag.

Security has increased at the track and the FBI was on site on Monday.

The noose that was found in Wallace's garage is being investigated by the FBI and the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division.

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