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22 June 2020 12:36

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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace insists he will not "back down" is his battle to rid racism from the sport after a noose was found in his garage. Wallace, who recently successfully campaigned to have the Confederate flag banned from Nascar events, is the only full-time black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. The governing body revealed the noose had been discovered in his stall at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. "Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team," their statement read. "We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act.

Bubba Wallace has been racing in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2017 (Wilfredo Lee/AP). "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." Responding to the incident, Wallace released his own statement on Twitter, praising the largely-positive response to his recent campaigns while condemning the "reprehensible action" of placing a noose in his garage. "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," he wrote. "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.

“We will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.” - Bubba Wallace "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.' 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." The lack of diversity in motorsport saw Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton launch his own commission to bring more black people to the fore. NASCAR has said that a noose was found at the track-side stand used by Bubba Wallace, the sport's single top circuit black American driver. An investigation has been launched into the noose, found in the driver's garage stall at the Talladega circuit in Alabama, the organisation said.

Mr Wallace had successfully pushed NASCAR bosses to ban Confederate flags at circuits almost two weeks ago, amid nationwide anti-racism demonstrations sparked by George Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody on 25 May. In a statement, NASCAR said it was "angry and outraged" about the noose, and that there was "no place for racism in NASCAR". "We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport," the association added. On Twitter, Mr Wallace said the "the 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." "As my mother told me today, 'They are just trying to scare you,"' he wrote. NBA star LeBron James later tweeted his support to the black NASCAR driver, and called the noose "sickening!" "Know you don't stand alone! I'm right here with you as well as every other athlete," he wrote.

Whilst rain later postponed Sunday's NASCAR race, the association said that the noose was discovered as some 5,000 spectators returned to the Talladega circuit in Alabama this weekend, where Confederate merchandise was sold alongside Trump 2020 banners and an American flags. In comments made to CNN, NASCAR added that the noose was located in a restricted zone where essential personnel have access. That includes race teams, NASCAR officials, security and health and safety. NASCAR has stated its "anger and outrage" after a noose was left in the garage of black racing driver Bubba Wallace. The 26-year-old is the only black driver in the American series and has spoken out against racism in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Wallace has vowed to keep on fighting racism after the "despicable" act Credit: USA TODAY Sports A successful campaign to ban the confederate flag from races was led by Alabama-born Wallace, who also raced in a unique BLM livery earlier this month. On Sunday, NASCAR confirmed a noose had been found in Wallace's garage and launched an investigation into the "heinous act". A statement read: "Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. "We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. Wallace vowed not to "give in" to those angered by his anti-racism stance after the noose was found at Talladega Superspeedway, where Sunday's race was postponed due to storms. He posted on Twitter: "The 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." He added: "As my mother told me today, they are just trying to scare you. Outside the Alabama circuit, several drivers displayed the banned confederate flag that is a popular symbol for some in the southern part of the United States - but has historic ties to pro-slavery movements. The confederate flag was a common sight outside the circuit on Sunday Credit: USA TODAY Sports NASCAR banned the flag from its events, with races currently taking place behind closed doors Credit: USA TODAY Sports A plane was also flown over the track bearing the flag and a banner reading: "Defund NASCAR." Several sports stars across the US have posted their support for Wallace after the sad episode. NBA legend LeBron James wrote: "Sickening! Know you don't stand alone! I'm right here with you as well as every other athlete. "I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! NASCAR I salute you as well!" most read in sport VIRUS HELL Arsenal stars missed training after 'player tested positive for coronavirus' BIKE TRAGEDY British Superbike star Ben Godfrey dies aged 25 after Donington Park crash Exclusive PLAYING AWAY Footie ace fathered son with £1,500-a-night escort recommended by England pals BETTER WEATHER Mayweather's 50-0 record beaten as Thai 'Dwarf Giant' Menayothin quits 54-0 DISASTER Undertaker says Goldberg match at Super Showdown was close to being 'catastrophic' Live Blog Gunners news Arsenal news LIVE: Latest updates from the Emirates OCTA-GONE McGregor retirement confirmed by White after not hearing from Irishman Live Blog UTD LATEST Man Utd news LIVE: All the latest updates and transfer gossip from Old Trafford NASCAR Ford driver Michael McDowell tweeted: "God help us. Andrew Murstein added his support as co-owner of Richard Petty Motorsports, which Wallace drives for, and said he was: "shocked and saddened." "You would like to think that the country has changed for the better in the last 40-plus years. A noose was left in the garage of coloured NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace is the only black driver in NASCAR, and officials have made clear that those behind the act of racism and will be 'eliminated' from the sport. "Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act," said NASCAR officials in a statement. "We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. "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." Wallace had already successfully campaigned to have the Confederate flag, common white supremacist symbol, banned from being on display at NASCAR events. However, the flag also represented the southern states, including Alabama, during the American Civil War, and the decision caused a spike in tensions. "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," wrote Watson. "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'. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in." McLaren has already separated the race crew from the team at the MTC - Seidl

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