NASCAR Struggles to Change Its Culture

By N. Jamiyla Chisholm Jun 23, 2020

NASCAR recently banned Confederate flag displays at events and on property, and then outfitted the hood of driver Denny Hamlin’s car with the National Civil Rights Museum (NCRM) logo on June 21, NCRM and Hamlin’s team Joe Gibbs Racing announced via Twitter.

“For today’s race, @FedEx has chosen to remove all of their branding and traditional colors, with this week’s theme being to listen and learn,” Joe Gibbs Racing tweeted.


NCRM tweeted that FedEx also announced a $500,000 donation to the museum, at Sunday’s Talladega Superspeedway race, to support the museum’s mission. NCRM is based at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, made famous as the site for Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination. 


But not all fans support being racially inclusive. The very same day that NASCAR emblazoned NCRM’s logo on Hamlin’s hood, Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr.—the organization’s sole Black racer—tweeted that a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Earlier this month, he competed with a Black Lives Matter message across his car. “This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down,” Wallace wrote.


The following day (June 22), NASCAR tweeted a response that it was opening an investigation and was even more resolved “to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

And U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town announced on June 22 that the U.S. attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are also conducting an investigation. "Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” Town wrote in the statement. 

In the meantime, NCRM is gearing to reopen its doors to the public on July 1. Learn more about how to visit here.