Sunday, September 19 2021

Some assists don’t come from teammates.

Monday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway was one of the more memorable race days in NASCAR history – and it wasn’t all about the race.

On Sunday, days after black driver Bubba Wallace lobbied NASCAR to remove the Confederate flag from its events – NASCAR listened – a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall. 

Prior to the race, in a show of solidarity, drivers and crew members gathered around Wallace’s car to show their support before pushing the No. 43 to the front in an incredible moment.

But that wasn’t where the support for Wallace stopped, and Wallace’s spotter Freddie Kraft thanked one specific driver for the extra love he showed during the race.

On the final caution, Wallace ran out of fuel, which caused Corey LaJoie to step in and push Wallace into pit road.

Wallace would go on to finish 14th, while LaJoie finished 16th, and after the race, LaJoie had some fun with the moment.

Some fans questioned whether LaJoie’s on-track gesture was above board, considering there are rules against cars nudging other cars during races.

However, our Bob Pockrass broke out the NASCAR rule book to confirm that the move was legal.

On Monday, LaJoie joined SiriusXM NASCAR Radio to discuss the recent events that led to Sunday’s noose incident at Talladega and spoke about his friend Wallace.

“When you have an instance like what happened on Sunday at Talladega … Should it take that much of a hateful act for everybody to band together? But it did, and we did do it. Now, I don’t think that five years ago, if the same act happened, I don’t think the sport as a whole reacts the same way … Since all this stuff has happened with George Floyd and developed since, the narrative has been, ‘We’re listening.’ The more we listen, the more we say, ‘Maybe we need to address this.’ … Then, finding that object in [Wallace’s] garage area … Now we’ve gotta band together. It’s more than just putting an Instagram post up with some well-articulated caption … We have to show that we’re all together. We’re all in it.”

An emotional LaJoie also talked about his long-standing relationship with Wallace.

“He’s been a buddy of mine since the 8th grade and he probably felt like he was by himself. And he’s not. We’re not the ones that have to get those messages or handle that burden. But we’re with him – all of NASCAR.”

Well said – and well-actioned – by LaJoie.

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UPDATE: FBI states noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall was there since October 2019


Cup Series drivers on the bubble should be nervous with 10 races to go

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