Talladega Noose Incident Puts Spotlight on NASCAR’s Troubles With Racism


One of the men said, “Hey, Scotty, we wanted to light the grass on fire so it would give it a better effect.” About 10 other motor home drivers witnessed the incident and laughed, the lawsuit said. Scott feared for his life.

“What happened with Bubba is bringing back a lot of bad memories for both of us,” Scott said on Wednesday, adding that his wife, Deirdre, worked for NASCAR in the licensing department until 2003. “We’ve lost a lot of sleep over the last few days.”

The two white men involved in the incident were fired, and NASCAR reminded teams that it had a zero-tolerance policy for racism. Scott’s lawsuit in 2006 claimed that the association had not given him a job he had been promised, which was supposed to protect him from the harassment he had faced working for a team in the garage area. A judge dismissed the case in 2008, the same year NASCAR settled a separate lawsuit involving the first black woman to work as a NASCAR technical official.

That official, Mauricia Grant, sued NASCAR for $225 million for racial discrimination, sexual harassment and wrongful termination. In her lawsuit, Grant, who went by the first name Mo, said she endured “virulently racist comments” and “ugly racist bigotry” by co-workers who called her names like “Nappy Headed Mo,” “Mohammed” and “Simpleton.” Some fellow officials discussed the Ku Klux Klan, she said, and it scared her. Her colleagues often made her work outside, the suit said, telling her that she would not sunburn because she was black, and would say she was “on colored-people time” if she was late.

Grant, who didn’t respond to messages, once rode in a car with another official at Talladega who told her to duck. According to court documents, he said, “I don’t want to start a riot when these fans see a black woman in my car.” Another official at Talladega, according to the lawsuit, “jokingly” threatened to sic the garage’s bomb-sniffing dog on Grant because she could be perceived as a criminal.

While Wallace hasn’t directly faced similar daily racism within NASCAR, he has acknowledged that whatever he does or says will be placed under a microscope and criticized by fans who might not want him to be in the sport. While enduring the backlash from the noose episode, he has had to remind himself that he can’t please everybody.

“I will always have haters,” Wallace said on CNN.



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