A noose was found Sunday in the garage of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only black driver, at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, ESPN reported.
Wallace successfully advocated for NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at its races after George Floyd's death in Minneapolis sparked nationwide racial justice protests. He has also worn a shirt to races that reads "I Can't Breathe" and "Black Lives Matter" and driven a car with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme.
"Today's despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism," Wallace wrote in a statement posted to Twitter Sunday night. "Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.
"Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, 'They are just trying to scare you,'" Wallace continued. "This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in."
https://t.co/koL655AJB9— Bubba Wallace (@Bubba Wallace) 1592794437.0
In apparent protest of the Confederate flag ban on NASCAR property, people flew the flag outside the racetrack, and someone flew an airplane above the racetrack with a banner that featured a Confederate flag and the words "defund NASCAR."
NASCAR has launched an investigation into the noose incident and said it would eliminate from the sport anyone who is found responsible.
"As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all," the NASCAR statement said.