At the NASCAR All-Star Open, last Wednesday fans in attendance were openly hostile towards driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace by booing him when he was introduced and then cheering when he crashed his car 17 laps into the race. Wallace has been at the center of controversy the past month when his team found what appeared to be a noose in the driver’s garage and it was mistakenly taken as a racially charged threat towards Wallace, NASCAR’s only African-American driver. After an investigation by the FBI, it was determined that this wasn’t a hate crime but it seems that this incident has stirred up some racial tensions under the surface in the NASCAR community.

Since the incident, NASCAR has been a bit of a firestorm with President Donald Trump tweeting at Wallace directly telling him to apologize for the misunderstanding and NASCAR banning all confederate flags at events. This likely won’t be the last time that Wallace will be booed this season with all of the controversies that the noose incident stirred up, but it does call into question the motivations behind this hostility especially that the noose was reported by Wallace’s team and not Wallace himself.

This does little to help advance NASCAR’s profile and only re-establishes, in some people’s minds, is a sport with a racist fan base who like to fly the Confederate flag at races and boo the only black driver in the sport.

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