June 23, 2020 / 6:07 AM / 12 days ago

Apparent noose found at Sonoma Raceway

Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway asked the local sheriff’s department to conduct an investigation after an apparent noose was found on a tree Saturday on the track’s property.

The track, which hosts NASCAR, NHRA and other motorsports events, said in a statement Monday, “A Sonoma Raceway staff member discovered a piece of twine tied in what appeared to be a noose hanging from a tree on raceway property. Our staff, on-site business tenants and local law enforcement have been contacted and asked to share any information they may have. The incident is under investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department.

“Sonoma Raceway takes this incident very seriously and is dedicated to operating a facility that is welcoming to everyone.”

Sonoma Raceway president Steve Page wrote in an email to staff and tenants that surveillance footage was being examined, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The reported noose in Northern California was found the day before a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR’s lone Black driver, Bubba Wallace, at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

NASCAR has vowed to find out who was behind the Talladega noose and ban the perpetrator from the circuit.

Wallace was a key figure in prompting NASCAR’s recent move to ban the Confederate flag from its racetracks.

On Monday, before the GEICO 500 at Talladega, Wallace’s fellow drivers and their crews pushed his No. 43 car to the front of the pack, then stood behind him in a symbolic show of solidarity. Hall of Famer Richard Petty, owner of the No. 43 team, stood next to Wallace during the national anthem.

Wallace was briefly in contention but wound up in 14th place during a race won by Ryan Blaney in a photo finish over Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The NASCAR Cup Series event scheduled for June 14 at Sonoma, the Toyota/Save Mart 350, was canceled last month due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NHRA Sonoma Nationals, slated for July 24-26, also were canceled.

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