Richard Petty will attend the NASCAR Cup Series race Talladega Superspeedway to support his driver, Darrell Wallace Jr.
Petty, who turns 83 next month, has not been to a NASCAR track since the sport restarted amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The NASCAR Hall of Fame team owner and seven-time champion issued a passionate statement Monday afternoon in support of 26-year-old Wallace, who joined the Petty organization in 2017.
“I’m enraged by the act of someone placing a noose in the garage stall of my race team,” said Petty. “There is absolutely no place in our sport or our society for racism. This filthy act serves as a reminder of how far we still have to go to eradicate racial prejudice, and it galvanizes my resolve to use the resources of Richard Petty Motorsports to create change.
“The sick person who perpetrated this act must be found, exposed, and swiftly and immediately expelled from NASCAR. I believe in my heart this despicable act is not representative of the competitors I see each day in the NASCAR garage area. I stand shoulder to shoulder with Bubba yesterday, today, tomorrow, and every day forward.”
RPM has confirmed that Wallace did not see the noose, which was found by members of the No. 43 Chevrolet team who then alerted NASCAR. In a statement late Sunday night, NASCAR said it was immediately launching an investigation, and it has since begun working with the FBI.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” said U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town in a statement. “Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
Due to restrictions from COVID-19, fans do not have access to the infield of a racetrack. Since the sport returned to racing last month, only personnel deemed essential from race teams, NASCAR, the track, and those who work safety and security have access to the facilities.