*NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace, 26, announced Thursday that he will be leaving Richard Petty Motorsports after the 2020 season.
“This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family, but I believe it’s time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43,” Wallace, who has raced with Richard Petty Motorsports for three seasons, wrote on Twitter.
“Thank you to the King and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to start my Cup Series career. I’ve grown so much as a driver and as a person since joining them. We’ve got nine more races together, and I hope we can finish the 2020 season on a high note,” his post continued.
The announcement comes less than three months after Wallace — the only top-tier Black NASCAR driver — was at the center of a noose controversy.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) September 10, 2020
On June 21, NASCAR notified him that a noose was found hanging in his garage stall at the Talladega Superspeedway.
After an investigation into the incident, the FBI declined to file any federal charges.
According to a statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, the noose had been in the garage since last fall, per USA Today.
Wallace “was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR said in a statement.
“There is no place in our sport for this type of racism and hatred,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps in a press call with media on Tuesday. “It’s not who we are as a sport.”
President Trump even called the incident a “hoax” and demanded Bubba apologize for it.
In June, Wallace successfully lobbied for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at tracks.
The athlete later opened up to PEOPLE about the racism he’s experienced.
“Whenever I was younger, I never would understand it, but my parents would always just be like, ‘You know what, don’t mind that BS that’s going on over there. Let’s come back next week and beat their tails,’ ” he said in July. “And that’s what we did. We’d come back and eventually shut them up. So, it’s been like that ever since.”
“And now that I do understand it, I look at it and laugh and just think of where we’re at this world,” Wallace added. “Obviously it still goes on every day, but for people to use that as something to offend me, or affect me, or knock me off my block, that ain’t going to happen. It only motivates me to do better.”
Meanwhile, Richard Petty Motorsports said it will announce a new driver “in the near future,” according to The Associated Press.