CONCORD, N.C. — President Donald J. Trump took aim at NASCAR’s only full-time African American driver, Bubba Wallace, on Monday on Twitter.
In the Tweet posted Monday morning, President Trump suggested that Wallace should apologize following the discovery of an apparent noose in his garage stall at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway in June. Trump called the noose “another hoax” while also bashing NASCAR for banning the Confederate flag and saying NASCAR’s television ratings are down.
Has @BubbaWallace apologized to all of those great NASCAR drivers & officials who came to his aid, stood by his side, & were willing to sacrifice everything for him, only to find out that the whole thing was just another HOAX? That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 6, 2020
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and NASCAR investigated the discovery of the noose, eventually determining it had been in the garage stall since October and there was no way it could have been directed at Wallace as no one could have known Wallace would have been assigned that garage stall this year.
In response to the discovery of the apparent noose, the NASCAR community came together in support of Wallace by escorting him to the front of the grid ahead of the race at Talladega and standing in support of him during the National Anthem.
Shortly after Trump’s Tweet, Michael Mulvihill, the FOX Sports Executive Vice President/Head of Strategy tweeted that the ratings have shown an 8 percent uptick in NASCAR viewership since the sport returned from the COVID-19 induced hiatus in May.
NASCAR viewership on Fox networks is up +8% since returning from its pandemic hiatus on May 17.
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) July 6, 2020
In addition, NBC Sports announced Monday afternoon that Sunday’s Big Machine Hand Sanitizer 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway averaged a total audience delivery of 4.370 million viewers – up 46 percent versus same race in 2019, which ran in September – according to Fast National data by Nielsen and digital data from Adobe Analytics.
NASCAR officials responded to President Trump’s Tweet Monday afternoon, saying in a statement they stood behind Wallace.
“We are proud to have Bubba Wallace in the NASCAR family and we commend his courage and leadership,” the NASCAR statement read. “NASCAR continues to stand tall with Bubba, our competitors and everyone who makes our sport welcoming and inclusive for all racing fans.”
Several competitors also came to Wallace’s defense by either tweeting responses or simply posting a picture of the No. 43 on their Twitter accounts. In a since deleted tweet, two-time NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, NASCAR Cup Series rookie and Richard Childress Racing driver Tyler Reddick fired back at the president.
“We don’t need an apology. We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support,” Reddick said in the tweet.
Wallace released a statement on Twitter Monday afternoon addressing the situation, saying, “Always deal with the hate being thrown at you with LOVE! Love over hate every day. Love should come naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate.
“Even when it’s HATE from the POTUS.”
Read Wallace’s full statement below.
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) July 6, 2020