CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR has opened an investigation into how a derogatory message was broadcast on the radio channel of Bubba Wallace’s race team during last weekend’s All-Star race.
Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black driver in the Cup series, had just finished Sunday’s race at North Wilkesboro Speedway when a person not on the 23XI Racing team said over the radio, “Go back to where you came from” and then added another non-racial expletive.
NASCAR spokesman Mike Forde said Wednesday the series immediately had its security and racing electronic teams look into the hack. He said Wallace did not hear the remark.
Forde said NASCAR is trying to determine who cracked Wallace’s radio communications and how it was done, as well the best method toward preventing it from happening in the future.
Forde said the investigation was ongoing and would have happened no matter the nature of the comment.
“We certainly take that seriously, no doubt about that,” he said. “But we can’t have fans interfering with team radio and potential competition implications.”
Wallace’s 23XI Racing team said Thursday it was in contact with NASCAR and feels “confident with their handling of the situation.”
NASCAR had already said earlier this week there were no plans to penalize Wallace after he appeared to make an obscene gesture on camera before a live interview with Fox Sports.
Wallace, who is from Alabama, in 2020 successfully called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its events.
He has not been shy in using his platform, but it’s come with detractors and scrutiny, including a noose found in his Talladega Superspeedway garage stall after his call for the banning of the Confederate flag.
The FBI ruled the garage pull was indeed fashioned as a noose but that it was a coincidence it was in Wallace’s stall, and he was not the victim of a hate crime.
AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/hub/auto-racing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports