NASCAR President Talks about Bubba Wallace Incident at Talladega


DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 16: Steve Phelps, Senior Vice President/Chief Marketing Officer for NASCAR, speaks at a press conference announcing a multi-year partnership between NASCAR and Mack Trucks during NASCAR Media Day at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2016 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)

NASCAR president Steve Phelps held a brief teleconference Monday ahead of the NASCAR Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.  The race had to be rescheduled due to weather on Sunday, and after it was delayed a crewmember from the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team found a noose in the garage area.  The driver of the No. 43 is currently the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top tier Cup series.

NASCAR issued a statement Sunday night, and Monday Phelps explained where they were at.

“First thing was to launch an immediate investigation into this heinous act,” he said.  “As part of that, we this morning at 7:30 notified the Birmingham office of the FBI.  They are currently on‑site.  They’ve started their investigation.”

“We are, as I said, in the early stages of this.  We will continue to keep the media informed as we learn more.  Obviously, this is a very, very serious act.  We take it as such.  We will do everything in our power to make sure that whoever has committed this act comes to justice and comes to light and we rid this type of behavior from our sport. “

Phelps said that currently there is a small footprint in the garage area and that access is limited to just a few people. And while he didn’t confirm the number, there are cameras.  He is, however, confident that whoever committed the act will be caught.

“We’re going to use every effort we can to determine who has done this, whether it’s a single person or multiple people,” he said. “I know that the director of the FBI has informed the Birmingham office to use all their resources to find out, as well, all the resources available to NASCAR, the FBI.

“The teams and drivers and anyone who would have any access to this have all said, Hey, we want to make sure we figure out who has done this vile act.”

Phelps also tried to quiet talk that this was somehow staged.

“I can’t speak for those on social media who would say this is a staged event,” he said.  “I would say that is something that personally offends me.  This is a terrible, terrible act that has happened.  For those who would think this is staged, I don’t even know where to go with that frankly.”

As for when that person or persons are found.

“Unequivocally they will be banned from this sport for life,” he said.  “There is no room for this at all.  We won’t tolerate it.  They won’t be here.  I don’t care who they are, they will not be here. “

In addition, extra security has been provided for Wallace.

“We want to make sure that Bubba is safe,” Phelps said.  “We have stepped up security.  Again, this is a family that needs to take care of one of its family members who has been attacked.  We will firmly support as an industry, as a family and community, to make sure Bubba and everyone else in this sport is safe.”

Greg Engle