On June 7th, 2020, NASCAR’s only African-American driver, Bubba Wallace, wore an “I can’t breathe” t-shirt honoring George Floyd’s death and spoke out against police brutality and racism.
Bubba Wallace has taken it upon himself to help bring change to one of the oldest and most southern sports, NASCAR. In an interview with ESPN, Mr. Wallace addressed the confederate flag. The confederate flag is a staple at most NASCAR events, most of which are held in the former Confederate States. He spoke eloquently, he spoke passionately, and he asserted that anything that makes a certain group of fans uncomfortable should not be welcomed in the sport.
NASCAR commissioner, John Middlebrook, listened and agreed. On June 10th, 2020, NASCAR officially banned the waving, displaying, or bringing of Confederate Flags to its races.
Many suspected this would be a test to race relations, and it has certainly become one.
This past Sunday, June 21st, 2020, Bubba Wallace, who races under number 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports, found a noose in his driver stall. Nooses and lynching are part of the United States’ most horrific, shameful, and ugly past.
The culprits wanted to send a message, and the message was received.
NASCAR has commenced its investigation, but has strongly stated “There is no room for racism in NASCAR”.
If this cowardly act was intended to intimidate, it had the opposite effect. It has united NASCAR, even more, to eradicate racism and division in the sport.
When one of the oldest, most southern sports, has joined the fight against racism, it’s a sign of changing times.
Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. is currently ranked number 20 in the early NASCAR season, he drives for Richard Petty Racing Team and is proudly sponsored by the United States Air Force.
Earlier this season, driver Ray Ciccarelli quit because of the confederate flag ban.
Mr. Ciccarelli, a veteran part-time driver in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series, had 0 career wins.
The Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series is often the breathing ground for new NASCAR Cup Racers. In contrast, Bubba Wallace, won 5 times on the
Gander RV & Outdoors Truck series, and made over a million dollars in the xfinity series before being hired by Richard Petty to drive the number 43 car in the Cup Series.