NASCAR said it is investigating after a noose was found in the garage of black driver Bubba Wallace on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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.”
Wallace said in a statement that he was “incredibly saddened” by the act.
“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 how must be in the fight against racism,” Wallace wrote on Twitter. “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 incident comes after NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from being displayed at its events. On Sunday, supporters of the symbol still managed to be seen before the race was postponed to Monday because of inclement weather.
Vehicles lined the boulevard outside the track, waving the flag and a plane flew above the track towing a banner of the Confederate flag that said “Defund NASCAR.”
NASCAR has not stated how exactly it plans to stop fans from displaying the flag on track property.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.