NASCAR is investigating how an unknown person was able to hack into Bubba Wallace's radio communications in order to make disparaging remarks after the end of last week's NASCAR All-Star Race at North Wilkesboro Speedway, according to a report by the Associated Press. The investigation is being handled by NASCAR's security and racing electronics teams.
Shortly after a second-place finish in the All-Star Race, an unknown person not a part of the 23XI Racing team accessed Wallace's radio in order to make derogatory remarks to the driver of the No. 23 Toyota. "Go back to where you came from you asshole," the person in question said, per Motorsport.com. "You're not wanted in NASCAR."
According to a NASCAR spokesman, Wallace did not hear the remark. The sanctioning body is trying to determine who accessed Wallace's radio, how they did so, and how to prevent such hacks in the future. It was also noted that such an investigation would've taken place regardless of the nature of the comments made -- while not common, it is not unheard of for unauthorized people to gain access to race team radios, which use public frequencies.
"We certainly take that seriously, no doubt about that," NASCAR's Mike Forde told the Associated Press. "But we can't have fans interfering with team radio and potential competition implications."
The comments made toward Wallace came after the Mobile, Ala. driver received a rather hostile reception throughout the weekend in NASCAR's return to historic North Wilkesboro. Wallace, who has become a polarizing figure as he has risen to stardom as the Cup Series' only Black full-time driver, was soundly booed when he was featured in driver intros and post-race interviews throughout the weekend.
Wallace acknowledged the boos by pantomiming a crying gesture during All-Star Race driver intros. He would go on to finish second in the All-Star Race, capping off a weekend that also saw him battle Kyle Larson for the win in the Truck Series race on his way to a fifth-place finish.
😂😂😂#NASCAR75 pic.twitter.com/MjaKgfg39X— Darian Gilliam (@BlackFlagMatter) May 21, 2023
Another post-race stir surrounded Wallace when he was spotted by television cameras flipping another person the middle finger on pit road after the All-Star Race had finished. According to Bob Pockrass of Fox Sports, NASCAR opted not to penalize Wallace for the inappropriate display after it was determined Wallace had been gesturing to a friend.