NASCAR Drivers Show Support for Bubba Wallace Ahead of Talladega Race

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NASCAR drivers rallied around Bubba Wallace ahead of the start of Monday's race at Talladega Superspeedway.

All drivers and their respective pit crews participating in the NASCAR Cup Series race helped push Wallace's No. 43 car down the track to the front of the field. Several drivers, including his close friend Ryan Blaney, hugged Wallace once he got out of his car. During the playing of the national anthem, Richard Petty stood next to Wallace.

Petty, 82, has not been at races since mid-March during the coronavirus pandemic. However, he decided to attend Monday's race to show his solidarity with Wallace, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports.

The drivers' gesture comes one day after a noose was found hanging in Wallace's garage at the track. NASCAR launched an investigation after the incident, and Wallace released a statement in response, promising "this will not break me."

"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," Wallace said. "Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate."

Earlier this month, NASCAR announced a ban on Confederate flags at all events, something Wallace had advocated strongly for. Earlier on Sunday, fans outside of Talladega Superspeedway displayed Confederate flags from the vehicles. A plane flew overhead with a Confederate flag banner, with a sign reading "Defund NASCAR."