All drivers and crew members stood with Bubba Wallace before Monday’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway in a show of unity for the series’ lone Black driver, a day after a noose was left in his team’s garage stall.
Drivers pushed Wallace’s No. 43 car to the front of the grid before pre-race ceremonies as Wallace sat in the car. Crew members followed drivers in a parade to the end of pit road.
Petty stood with Wallace for the invocation and anthem. All the drivers stood behind Wallace with crew members behind them.
“This is such a big family in the garage area and the news has disturbed us all,” Johnson told Fox before the race. “Of course, we want justice in a sense, we want to understand who and why and all of those things, but until those answers are answered, we want to stand with our friend, we want to stand with Bubba and that’s what took place through last night and this morning and this idea came together today and it started within the drivers. As the crew members caught wind that we wanted to push Bubba’s car and stand with him during the national anthem and the teams wanted to get involved as well and you saw the support. Pretty amazing.”
Ryan Blaney, one of Wallace’s closest friends, shared his thoughts on the moment during the red flag for rain near the end of Stage 1.
“I think all the support he’s gotten, especially last night and today, and the past three weeks from everyone in the industry has definitely been great and he really appreciates it,” Blaney told Fox. “Yesterday, what happened was absolutely disgusting and I was very, very mad about it. Everyone was. But I thought today with everyone showing their support, not only drivers, crew members, teams. The fans were awesome showing their support to Bubba and everybody whose been oppressed. I’m always going to stand behind him 100% of the way.”