During a period where the world has been noticeably divided at times, it has been heartwarming to see many sportsmen and women unite in support of one another.
One particularly poignant instance of this occurred at the Geico 500 event in Talladega, Alabama on Monday.
In the days prior to the race, it was revealed that Bubba Wallace – NASCAR’s only current black driver – had found what he believed to be a noose in his team’s garage.
Following the news, fellow NASCAR drivers and staff members decided to make a strong statement in support of Wallace before Monday’s race. As Wallace’s Number 43 Chevrolet Camaro made its way onto the track, it was flanked by scores of his colleagues.
The imagery is certainly powerful and Wallace later shared a picture of the scene on Twitter, captioning the image with one single word: “Together”. The words “I stand with Bubba” were also painted on the side of the track in another show of solidary.
While the 26-year-old could only finish 14th in the race itself, the day was almost more about the message that the sport of NASCAR sent out to the world than anything else.
Speaking after the race, Wallace reflected on the events of the day and spoke of his pride in how his peers had supported him.
“This sport is changing. The deal that happened yesterday… I wanted to show whoever it was that you weren’t going to take away my smile. I’m going to keep on going. I’ve been a part of this sport for a really long time and am still kind of a rookie.
“But all in all [we] won today. The pre-race deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life…From all the support from drivers and crew members, everybody here, and the badass fanbase, this is truly incredible and I’m proud to be a part of this sport.”
Per dailymail.co.uk, Wallace has since blasted an FBI investigation into the matter, which concluded that there had been no evidence of a hate crime.
An official report suggested that the “noose” was actually a door handle which had been present in the garage since last October – long before anyone could have known that Wallace would use the space.
Wallace, however, dismissed that suggestion insisting: “From the evidence that we have, that I have, it’s a straight-up noose.”
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver also took aim at those who had accused him of overplaying the incident.
“(I’m) mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity’…They’re not stealing that away from me, but they’re just trying to test that. The image I’ve seen of what was hanging in my garage was not a garage pull…It wasn’t directed at me, but somebody tied a noose.”
Whatever the truth of the matter is, it is clear that tensions are running high for many right now.
The moving show of solidarity displayed by the sport of NASCAR, though, set a wonderful example for the world to follow.