NASCAR drivers will be racing 500 miles today but while they are competitors on the track, they are together as one against racism and to support their friend Bubba Wallace.
During yesterday’s rain delay, someone put a noose in Wallace’s garage. As the lone Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, Wallace has been vocal in getting his fellow drivers speaking up to get NASCAR to change. The Confederate flag, once synonymous with NASCAR and its history, is now banned from the track.
To support their friend, the other 39 drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the end of pit road for prerace festivities. The crews walked behind the drivers as the parade came to the end of pit road. Wallace was overcome with emotion and was consoled by Richard Petty, who made the trip to Talladega to support Wallace, as well as his competitors/friends.
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 22, 2020
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
In addition, front row starter Denny Hamlin and sponsor FedEx painted his #11 Toyota all black for the Talladega race. The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis will be the primary sponsor.
I promised to listen and that’s what I’m doing. Today you will see my #11 car will not carry the traditional paint scheme that you usually see. @FedEx and myself instead want to give that voice to the @NCRMuseum. Exhibit photos courtesy of the NCRM. pic.twitter.com/KJ0sKumnUT
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) June 21, 2020
It’s tough for drivers to process the emotion of the prerace and immediately experience the heat and mental stress of 500 miles of superspeedway racing. But these drivers are going to do just that and whether or not Bubba Wallace wins the actual race, he’s already won in that his peers are choosing love over hate.