It wasn't the best day for Bubba Wallace. Appearing at a qualifier held on Wednesday in Bristol, Tennessee, the NASCAR driver was booed and later crashed into a wall during the race.
Wallace was hoping to either race his way into the All-Star Race in the qualifier before the main event at Bristol Motor Speedway or win the fan vote on July 15 to qualify for the exhibition.
However, it was just seven laps into the qualifying event when Michael McDowell in the No. 34 Ford turned towards Wallace and forced his No. 43 Chevrolet to crash into the wall.
"People say he's one of the nicest guys in the garage, can't wait for the God-fearing text that he's going to send me about preaching and praise and respect," Wallace said to Fox Sports after he was checked out at the infield care center. "What a joke he is."
Both drivers were in the qualifying race since neither of them won the race in either 2019 or 2020. In the beginning. McDowell was in the first place. However, later on in the first few laps, he fell back and tried desperately to regain his track position. He also took himself out with the move as his car went spinning off William Byron.
Wallace's misfortune, however, began even earlier when the fans at the Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee, booed him as he was introduced at the beginning of the qualifying event.
It was the first time that a large number of fans were present at the NASCAR race since the Confederate flag was banned. Thousands of fans were on hand, and so was the flag.
"In addition to the Confederate flag flying over Bristol, there was another hanging off the balcony of a condo across from the main entrance as well as others along Speedway." Jenna Fryer, the Associated Press auto racing reporter tweeted.
Fryer also revealed that Wallace, the first African-American champion in NASCAR, had had a noose found in his garage in the aftermath of the George Floyd protests. He was booed when he was introduced and had fans cheer when he crashed.
The FBI later ruled out hate crime in this case. This led to people attacking Wallace on social media, questioning his integrity and calling him "fake".
Enraged, Wallace's fans began to post on social media to call out the spectators at the arena and support the driver.
One of his fans tweeted, "@BubbaWallace you got the loudest boos and cheers, but it saddens me that they were in the order of your introduction and crash. I can't imagine what you go through. Keep up the fight! I can tell you me and the kids cheered then booed. #IStandWithBubba."
Another wrote, "No surprised fans mostly from southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee booed Bubba Wallace. People here are awful."
While another outraged fan wrote, "Bummer to hear @BubbaWallace was booed at Bristol, although I can't say I'm surprised. Not all of us in central Appalachia feel that way. We stand with you."
Someone else tweeted, "I don't tweet often but I'm at the NASCAR race In Bristol tonight and the crowd booed Bubba Wallace when he was announced... That's the f***ing world we're in... #IStandWithBubba."
And another one of his fans also had a rather strong opinion. "It made me so mad today that when Bubba Wallace got introduced today and everyone booed him really pissed me off and makes me not want to tell people that I'm a NASCAR fan also didn't like the fact that when bubba wrecked, everyone cheered guess what I'm saying is NASCAR fans suck." the fan tweeted. "For those of you that just booed @BubbaWallace when he was introduced at Bristol... F*** YOU! The hate in your heart is pathetic and you need to find light and be a better human."
A small plane flew the Confederate flag over the Bristol Motor Speedway on Wednesday as thousands of fans gathered to watch the NASCAR All-Star Race in Tennessee.
Critics of the Confederate flag say it's racist and represents a war to uphold slavery and a battle against civil rights advances.
NASCAR banned the Confederate flag on June 10, the same day Wallace drove a car supporting the Black Lives Matter movement at Martinsville, Virginia. He had a painting of a handshake with the words Compassion, love, understanding.
"We always want to pay attention to the negative, but the narrative that's been out there now is saying all NASCAR fans are racist, and whatnot, and that's totally not true," Wallace said on the show.