A noose was found in the garage stall of Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR said in a statement released Sunday night.


The statement read in full:


"Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all."


In his third full-time season at NASCAR's top level, Wallace is the only Black driver in the Cup Series and has been integral in leading the sport's recent commitment to fighting racism and injustice. His largest impact so far was calling for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag from all events, which the governing body did on June 10.


Because of NASCAR's COVID-19 regulations, only essential personnel have been permitted be at the track during races, with NASCAR President Steve Phelps previously estimating that's about 900 people, down from up to 2,500. That includes team members, NASCAR and track officials, safety crews and limited media, which only have press box access not the infield or garage.


Although NASCAR recently started allowing fans to attend, they are not allowed in the infield.


Wallace responded to Sunday night's news with a statement on Twitter:


"Today's despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, "They are just trying to scare you." This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in."


NBA superstar LeBron James reacted late Sunday night to the news, reaching out to Wallace with a tweet to offer his support:


"Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports!


@NASCAR I salute you as well!"


Wallace ran a #BlackLivesMatter paint scheme at Martinsville Speedway the same day NASCAR banned the Confederate flag. He also joined several other star drivers — including Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano — to make a video explaining their dedication to listening, learning and being an advocate for change. Denny Hamlin, who also took part in the video, will run a paint scheme dedicated to the National Civil Rights Museum, and his sponsor, FedEx, committed $500,000 to the museum.


There were some protesters flying Confederate flags outside the central Alabama race track Sunday, however, and a plane was seen flying with a banner of the flag along with the text "Defund NASCAR."


The Cup Series race at Talladega was originally scheduled for Sunday afternoon, but it was postponed until Monday because of inclement weather.