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NASCAR Investigating Noose Found in Bubba Wallace’s Garage


“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” Wallace told CNN’s Don Lemon. “So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”

That same week, Wallace and Richard Petty Motorsports revealed a new black paint scheme for his No. 43 Chevrolet, with the slogan “#blacklivesmatter” over the rear wheels. On the hood, a black fist and a white fist clasp in a grip above the slogan “Compassion, Love, Understanding.”

The noose episode is another troubling moment for NASCAR, a motor sports giant that has tried to distance itself from a past in which it had cultivated ties with segregationists and harbored racists and their tropes.

George C. Wallace, the segregationist Alabama governor, played a crucial role in the development of the Talladega speedway, which opened in 1969 and is along Interstate 20 between Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala.

In the nearly 51 years since the inaugural competition at Talladega, the track has become known on the racing circuit as one of the most likely places to see a Confederate flag. And even though the city of Talladega, whose limits do not technically include the speedway, elected its first black mayor last year, East Alabama can still be rife with racism and its symbols.

But in recent years, NASCAR, which has seen attendance and television ratings decline, has sought to step away from its history. In 2015, after a white supremacist killed nine black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C., officials at top tracks urged people not to fly the Confederate flag at competitions, and some of the sport’s top drivers, like Dale Earnhardt Jr., spoke out about racism and their opposition to the battle flag.

Alan Blinder contributed reporting.

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