*All of NASCAR literally stood united behind its lone Black driver Bubba Wallace this afternoon at the beginning of the Geico 500 race at Talladega.
The show of unity, support and brotherhood from fellow drivers and their crew members followed an ugly display of racism with the discovery of a noose in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Sunday night. The act is now under investigation by NASCAR, the FBI and the Justice Department.
In another emotional moment this afternoon, Wallace’s 82-year-old team owner and NASCAR legend Richard Petty braved the threat of COVID-19 to visit his first race since the pandemic began, believing it was important that he show support to his driver in person.
Below, watch all of the above, including Wallace and Petty’s tearful embrace.
Also of note in Monday’s Geico 500, FedEx agreed to remove all of its branding and traditional colors from Denny Hamlin’s #11 car to be replaced by a blacked-out paint scheme in honor of the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The gesture, Hamlin said, was part of NASCAR’s “listen and learn” initiative. He said in a tweet, “I promised to listen and that’s what I’m doing. Today you will see my #11 car will not carry the traditional paint scheme that you usually see. @FedEx and myself instead want to give that voice to the @NCRMuseum.”
I promised to listen and that’s what I’m doing. Today you will see my #11 car will not carry the traditional paint scheme that you usually see. @FedEx and myself instead want to give that voice to the @NCRMuseum. Exhibit photos courtesy of the NCRM. pic.twitter.com/KJ0sKumnUT
— Denny Hamlin (@dennyhamlin) June 21, 2020