Richard Petty is typically soft spoken and it’s very tough to make him mad, but what happened on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway has compelled The King to speak out and by his own words, Petty is “enraged.”
Yesterday, someone on Petty’s #43 team discovered a noose in the garage. The noose was directed toward driver Bubba Wallace, who over the past month has become a leader in bringing NASCAR and the drivers together to stand against racial injustices and make positive change within the sport. One of the biggest changes NASCAR has made in the past month was banning the Confederate flag from NASCAR races and track property, a move that has resulted in small protests over the weekend.
As a result, some racist decided to cowardly make a point toward NASCAR’s only Black driver in the top series and Petty has had enough, releasing this statement.
— Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports) June 22, 2020
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team. There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change. The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed, and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR. I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba, yesterday, today, tomorrow and every day forward.”
The 82-year-old Petty hasn’t attended a race in-person since the COVID-19 pandemic but after yesterday’s race was postponed to today for rain and lightning, Petty will be at the track. According to ESPN’s Marty Smith, Petty said, “The most important thing for me right now is hugging my driver.”
NEWS: NASCAR industry sources tell me Richard Petty will attend today’s race at Talladega, to stand in solidarity w @BubbaWallace.
Petty, 82, has not attended a race since COVID-19 halt.
Sources told me Petty commented: “The most impt thing for me right now is hugging my driver.”
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 22, 2020
Reaction among those within the sport has largely been in support of Wallace and it was reported by SBJ’s Adam Stern that Wallace’s fellow drivers will do something supporting him before today’s race. Nevertheless, multiple people within the sport don’t like what Wallace has been doing, and according to Fox’s Jamie Little, NASCAR allowed Wallace’s team to inspect their car this morning in case anyone tampered with it overnight. As far as what happened yesterday, Motorsport reports that the FBI is at Talladega Superspeedway investigating.