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NASCAR to Investigate How Bubba Wallace’s Radio Was Hacked during All-Star Race
Wallace’s runner-up finish to Kyle Larson was overshadowed after a person accessed his radio to spread hateful speech against 23XI Racing’s driver.
NASCAR has long enjoyed some of the most passionate fans in all of sports — but along with the good, comes a checkered past of disturbing racist comments and hateful speech. This started with the legend Wendell Scott, who entered the league after obtaining his NASCAR license in 1953. As the first African American driver ever to compete in NASCAR, Scott was subjected to any and all forms of systemic hatred based solely on the color of his skin.
While it’s difficult to imagine what that would’ve been like for Scott, fast-forward seven decades later, and one driver in the Cup Series unfortunately knows all too well what that would’ve been like: Bubba Wallace.
What happened to Bubba Wallace during the Cup Series All-Star Race?
Though the NASCAR All-Star Race weekend was full of jubilant festivities as the Cup Series returned to the historic North Wilkesboro Speedway for the first time in three decades, the celebratory shine of the weekend and Wallace’s second-place finish to Kyle Larson was dulled after a person managed to hack into his team radio at 23XI Racing and spew vitriol directed at the wheelman of the No. 23 Toyota Camry — the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s premier series.
What did the person say to Bubba Wallace over his team radio?
Just moments after Wallace took the checkered flag to earn a second-place finish behind Larson, someone hacked his team radio.
“Go back to where you came from, you assh-l-,” the mystery person reportedly hurled at Wallace, according to Motorsport.com. “You’re not wanted in NASCAR.”
While others on the 23XI Racing team heard the hateful comments lobbed at Wallace, a spokesperson for the racing outfit owned by Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin told Motorsport.com that the 29-year-old wheelman from Mobile, Alabama did not hear the insults, nor did he acknowledge them immediately following the conclusion of the event.
After the race, an upbeat Wallace did post a video to Twitter, congratulating his team on the effort that helped land him a “best of the rest” finish, but he did not mention the radio incident.
“All in all, proud of the effort, proud of our Columbia – Toyota group,” he said. “It just wasn’t meant to be. Five [Larson] was lights out, and we were the best of the rest, so, I guess we can be proud of that. Appreciate the support, keep on riding this momentum train into Charlotte.”
How has Bubba Wallace dealt with racism in the past?
Having dealt with racism in one form or another throughout his life, Wallace has traditionally taken a strong stance against the injustice and prejudice that continues to impact his career.
In 2017, he tweeted about the role of race in the top flight of stock car racing.
“There is only 1 driver from an African American background at the top level of our sport..I am the 1,” Wallace wrote at the time. “You're not gonna stop hearing about 'the Black driver' for years. Embrace it, accept it and enjoy the journey.”
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But his stance against bigotry doesn’t stop there. In an effort to combat institutionalized racism, after the 2020 killing of George Floyd by now ex-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, Wallace donned an “I Can’t Breathe” shirt and stood proudly with NASCAR legends like Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. to condemn racism in the league and society. Wallace also helped galvanize members of NASCAR to ensure the Confederate flag was banned from all future NASCAR events. Wallace spoke about spearheading the campaign with Rolling Stone in 2020.
“I still don’t see it as being political,” Wallace told the magazine. “I just see it as basically right versus wrong.”
“No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race,” he told CNN at the time. “So, it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them.”
The league’s investigation into the radio hack Sunday during the All-Star Race is currently underway. Wallace looks to move on from the incident and deliver another solid performance this season when he and the Cup Series head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Coca-Cola 600 this Sunday.