Apparent noose found at Sonoma NASCAR track

Sonoma Raceway officials are conducting an investigation after “a piece of twine tied in what appeared to be a noose” was found “hanging from a tree on raceway property” on Saturday, the California track’s president said in a statement.

“Our staff, on-site business tenants and local law enforcement have been contacted and asked to share any information they may have,” president and general manager Steve Page said in the statement. “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 is a 47,000-seat venue with a road course that hosts NASCAR Cup Series events, as well as the IndyCar Series, the AMA Superbike circuit and drag racing. The Cup Series event and most other major races at the track were canceled this year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The track was closed over the weekend, when the apparent noose was found.

An email sent by Page to staff and tenants said that officials are reviewing surveillance footage from the weekend, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The scene was similar to that at Talladega Superspeedway this weekend, as federal authorities arrived Monday to investigate the discovery of a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall. The entire industry rallied around Wallace, the Cup Series’ only Black driver, who steered his No. 43 car to a 14th-place finish on Monday in the NASCAR Cup Series race that was postponed because of inclement weather on Sunday.

“The news has disturbed us all, and of course, we want justice and know who and why,” seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson said. “And we want to stand with our friend.”

An emotional Wallace greeted several fans along the fence after the race.

“The sport is changing,” he said in an interview with Fox. “The deal that happened yesterday — sorry I’m not wearing my mask, but I wanted to show whoever it was that you’re not gonna take away my smile, and I’m gonna keep on going.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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