The noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway was not the only one that appeared at a NASCAR racing facility over the weekend.
The president of Sonoma Raceway, a road course located in Sonoma, Calif., that has hosted NASCAR Cup Series races since 1989, claims that on Saturday a “staff member discovered a piece of twine tied in what appeared to be a noose hanging from a tree on raceway property.”
Added Steve Page, the track’s president who also serves as its general manager (via NBC Sports): “Our staff, on-site business tenants and local law enforcement have been contacted and asked to share any information they may have. The incident is under investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Sonoma Raceway takes this incident very seriously and is dedicated to operating a facility that is welcoming to everyone.”
Sonoma Raceway’s annual NASCAR Cup Series race, which originally was scheduled for June 14, was moved to Charlotte because of the COVID-19 pandemic and held on May 27. Sonoma is expected to be added back to the schedule in 2021. Speedway Motorsports owns Sonoma Raceway.
The noose in Wallace’s garage was discovered a day later at Talladega Superspeedway, which is owned by NASCAR and located in Talladega, Ala. It was found almost two weeks after Wallace’s push to have the Confederate flag banned from NASCAR races became successful. NASCAR on June 10 announced it had prohibited the display of the flag at all of its events and properties.
Both the FBI and NASCAR are investigating the Talladega noose, which is believed to have been placed at some point during Sunday’s rain delay of the Geico 500. Wallace never saw the noose. The race eventually was postponed to Monday because of inclement weather.
“The deal that happened yesterday, sorry I’m not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you’re not going to take away my smile and I’m going to keep on going,” Wallace said on the Fox broadcast after finishing the race 14th, standing in front of a crowd of supporters in the stands.
Added NASCAR president Steve Phelps before Monday’s race: “This is a difficult time for our sport, but we are going to react swiftly and again we’re going to use all the means, resources at our disposal and of those of the FBI to make sure this person or persons are caught and dealt with swiftly and severely. There’s no room for this at all, and we won’t tolerate it.”
The garage area at Talladega was not open to fans Sunday because of the coronavirus. Only race teams, NASCAR/track officials and safety crews were allowed access.
NASCAR’s race weekend at Talladega also prompted protests from Confederate flag defenders, including a parade of trucks and motorcycles displaying the stars and bars outside the track on Saturday and a “Defund NASCAR” banner featuring the flag being flown by a plane over the track Sunday.
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