The unexpected spotlight comes after Wallace last month called for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag. Just days later, NASCAR and the FBI launched an investigation after a crew member discovered a noose in Wallace’s garage on the Talladega Superspeedway.
The FBI report later revealed that the item had been in the team’s garage since last year and that Wallace was therefore not a victim of a hate crime.
Following the investigation, the 26-year-old spoke out about racism and went on to receive a response, including President Donald Trump calling on the driver to apologize.
“I’ve had more clashes with racist people in the past few weeks than ever before in my life. All because I’ve spoken my voice,” he wrote in an essay titled ‘Come Ride With Me’.
Wallace, the only black driver on NASCAR’s top track, says the recent investigation has been “really difficult” to deal with and he is frustrated by the ordeal.
“I’ll say this [about the noose]. If you’ve been in garage stalls on a normal day, damn you don’t notice that stuff,” he wrote.
“There’s so much action going on when you’re in the garage, most of the time. And even for me, when I’m just standing there, when I climb out of the car and see my boys at work for a minute, I don’t fucking watch rope that the garage door hangs.
“And so whoever tied it tied it and left it there, and that was it. And moved on. We’re only in Talladega twice a year. And so, the reason it was sitting there is because that’s the first time the garage had been in use since October.”
Wallace says people have since tried to use the research to discredit him, especially after he spoke out about the use of Confederate flags.
The symbol has become synonymous with his sport over the years, but after educating himself on its history, Wallace called for the end of its use.
“It just alienates people. I’m still educating myself on these issues, just like everyone else,” he wrote, saying he knew he would put a target on his back by speaking out.
“If you dig deep and read about the Confederacy – which I am also still learning about – you understand what those people were fighting for.
“People will say anything to defend it. But make no mistake, it was a war over slavery. It was about the South trying to keep their slaves.”
Last month, NASCAR announced that the Confederate flag would be banned at all official events in response to global protests against racial injustice and police brutality following the murder of George Floyd.
Wallace welcomed the decision and says the sport he loves finally has a chance to force real change.
However, during a race in Tennessee on Wednesday, a plane flew a Confederate flag over the track ahead of Bristol Motor Speedway, showing that the problem is far from over with certain NASCAR fans.
‘I have energy’
Despite never wanting to be in the spotlight, Wallace wants to use his position to continue fighting for change and has praised the Black Lives Matter movement that has gained momentum in recent months.
In his essay, Wallace explains his own experiences with racism, which he says happened recently.
He says an undercover cop advised him to stop before wondering if he could afford the car he was driving.
“Listen, I’m new to all this. I’m still learning. But I’ve never been the man to follow the crowd because it’s safe or easy, and I’m not going to start now,” he wrote.
“We have a lot of work to do – but I’m ready for whatever. I may be tired now, but I have energy for what the future holds.”