Real NASCAR fans know this sport started because our people needed to outrun the cops. It started during Prohibition, when drivers tricked out their cars to run moonshine without getting caught. Our people were moonshiners because we wanted the power to decide our own futures and take care of our families and communities — even if it was against the law. Out of bootlegging, and the need for fast rides, stock car racing was born. And we think it’s about time we returned to our roots.
Tonight, at Martinsville Speedway, Bubba Wallace, the first African American driver who has been fulltime in the Cup Series since 1971, raced a car for all time NASCAR race winner, Richard Petty, with a Black Lives Matter paint scheme. On Sunday a video message was released from Bubba Wallace, Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Tyler Reddick, Ryan Blaney and other drivers showing support for the thousands marching in the streets for racial justice with the message: “I will listen and learn.”
NASCAR taking a stand with Black Americans demanding justice is exactly who we are as fans. Most of use know what it’s like to have people with money and power exploit us and harm our communities. This is exactly what Black people in the streets are trying to stop. NASCAR fans are rebellious, but we always take care of each other and will stand up to people trying to hurt us or our neighbors. Our loyalty and belief in our country demands we defend our neighbors whether they are Black, Brown or white, because it is the right thing to do. And because we don’t back down from a fight.
We applaud NASCAR for joining the fight against racial injustice this week in the wake of the murders by police of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and countless others.
We agree with Johnson’s statement that changing opinions around racism and police brutality starts with these conversations, and then grows into doing and saying more. We hope that these drivers’ willingness to start this conversation in our community continues and that more fans follow their lead.
We support Bubba Wallace’s request and Nascar’s decision to remove confederate flags from the sport. Many of us, especially in the south, were raised with pride in the confederate flag, but didn’t know or acknowledge the very painful history that the flag represented — that for our Black neighbors it is a symbol of racism, lynching, hate, and the history of slavery. This is an opportunity for true redemption and repair, and a way to create communities and sports spaces where all families are valued. As fans, we believe anyone should be able to show up to our events to have a good time with their family and friends — and a symbol of racism shouldn’t get in the way of that. We know we have work to do as fans, and as a country, to make things right.
We call on our fellow fans to follow the drivers’ example and start conversations with their friends and family about racism in this country, to take action in our communities and to fight for a world our grandchildren will be proud of. Join us by signing on here, then share this letter with other fans and ask them to sign on. Tweet and post your support of NASCAR and Bubba Wallace on social media.
As we pray for the safety of our drivers tonight and every race night, we will also be praying for the end of racism in our country.
NASCAR fans, start your engines.