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Amid an emotionally taxing month in which he has been subjected to racism after lobbying his sport to ban the Confederate flag, Black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace received several powerful shows of support from competitors Monday at Talladega.
Prior to the Geico 500, drivers gathered around Wallace’s car for the national anthem in an act of solidarity. A noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall the day before.
When Wallace ran out of fuel at the very end of the dramatic race, threatening his ability to finish, Corey LaJoie used his car to push Wallace’s vehicle to his pit stall so Wallace could complete an event that meant so much to him. Wallace was able to come home in 14th place.
Bubba Wallace had run out of fuel during the final caution and Corey Lajoie pushed the 43 to pit road so he could make it to his stall.
That ultimately aided Wallace in finishing 14th and on the lead lap.
— Matt Weaver (@MattWeaverAW) June 23, 2020
MORE: Highlights from Geico 500 at Talladega
NASCAR has become far more active on issues of race the past couple of months than it ever had in a past marked by accusations it did not accommodate non-white drivers and fans.
It suspended Kyle Larson indefinitely for using the N-word in a live stream and issued a strong statement condemning Larson’s behavior. It spoke in favor of the Black Lives Matter movement as protests of police brutality swept across the nation. It banned the Confederate flag from all of its events two weeks ago.
But Monday’s race seemed to take the new focus to greater, more meaningful lengths and showed more than just NASCAR officials are on board with creating an inclusive circuit.