The support in NASCAR for Bubba Wallace reached its peak Monday before the race at Talledega Speedway in Lincoln, Ala. Wallace’s car was pushed to the front of the Geico 500 field by his fellow drivers and crew members during an emotional scene.
The entire NASCAR garage and all 39 drivers paced the track behind Wallace’s No. 43 car. Wallace sat in the car during the two-minute tribute. He hugged fellow drivers and posed for a selfie with the field afterwards.
The stand comes one day after a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall. Fellow drivers, including Jimmie Johnson, voiced their support after the incident.
Wallace is the only Black driver racing in the Geico 500. He has been vocal during the past two weeks about creating a more inclusive environment for all people at NASCAR events.
“I’m with NASCAR, I stand with Bubba,” driver Martin Truex Jr. said earlier today in an interview with the Inquirer. “There’s no room in our sport for that. We’re all in this thing together.”
Before the tribute, it was announced that Richard Petty would attend his first race since the COVID-19 halt. Wallace is a driver for Richard Petty Motorsports.
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage of my race team,” Petty said in a statement. “There is absolutely no place in our sport or society for racism.”
Petty, 82, stood beside Wallace during the national anthem.