One day after President Donald Trump called for Wallace to apologize for the noose found in the No. 43 team's garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway that the Federal Bureau of Investigation determined was not a hate crime, NASCAR announced Wallace leads the All-Star Race fan vote. The FBI later determined that the noose had been in the garage since at least October, months before Wallace occupied it, and that the driver was not the target of a hate crime.
NASCAR officials responded to President Trump's Tweet Monday afternoon, saying in a statement they stood behind Wallace. Still, it "was a noose", as Wallace told CNN after the bureau's report found that the looped rope had been in the garage well before Wallace's team was assigned to it. Wallace has maintained the rope had been fashioned into a noose and has said he was saddened by "the despicable act of racism and hatred", and other Cup Series drivers rallied around him.
James also welcomed the decision by rapper and activist Dr Dre's Beats by Dre business to announce a deal with Wallace.
NASCAR's only full-time black driver reacted by telling his hundreds of thousands of fans to "walk proudly on the path you have chosen", adding that "haters" such as Trump only served to elevate their voices and platforms. "Even when it's HATE from the POTUS - love wins", Wallace told his followers on Twitter. "I've been on several sides of this in being able to see and lean on the support of our NASCAR community and the people inside of our sport and in the garage and whether the circumstances turned out like they did or didn't at Talladega, the unity of our garage and the family atmosphere that is created in our community is not like anything else in any other sport".
Early Monday morning, President Donald Trump publicly called out Wallace.
Wallace himself said in a tweet directed "to the next generation and little nones following in my footsteps" that "love wins".
Wallace - the only Black driver among NASCAR's full-time stock vehicle circuit - appeared mostly responsible for the push to have the association ban the Confederate flag after he made such an appeal in early June. On top of that, ESPN notes a plane towing a banner with the Confederate flag and the words "Defund NASCAR" flew over the track.
In the midst of an escalating Covid crisis in the USA, on the back of historic protests over racial injustice and police brutality, and with the economy in the ground, the American president Donald Trump has seemingly made none of those issues the central point in his reelection campaign.
Trump echoed that divisive rhetoric Saturday in a White House address ostensibly meant to celebrate July 4, asserting the United States was "now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who, in many instances, have absolutely no clue what they are doing". As NASCAR and federal officials investigated the possibility of a hate crime, Wallace's competitors walked with his auto down pit road ahead of the following day's rain-rescheduled race. "I support everything that we're doing". Love should come as naturally as people are TAUGHT to hate.
"That & Flag decision has caused lowest ratings EVER!" he said on Monday, referring to NASCAR's June banning of the Confederate flag from all affiliated events and locations.