GREENSBORO, N.C. — Until last month, Greensboro Reverend Greg Drumwright had never been to a NASCAR race.
He was called to Talladega Speedway as the FBI began an investigation in what appeared to be a noose in driver Bubba Wallace’s stall.
Drumwright has spent the last several months fighting racial injustice and standing alongside family members of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks.
He left Atlanta in June and headed for Alabama.
“We have called on NASCAR to come to the table to speak with my organization, Justice for the Next Generation. That moment not only meant a lot to the African American community. It meant a lot to the NASCAR world and their supporters,” he said.
Since the race, Drumwright has continued the conversation with NASCAR leaders, including the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. He’s also spoken with retired driver Bill Lester to address inequality in the sport.
“Those conversations are progressing, probably not as fast as I would like them to, but there is movement on those issues,” he said.
Drumwright explained that his organization, the Justice for the Next Generation Coalition, wants action beyond steps like banning the Confederate Flag at races.
“We’re asking NASCAR for greater diversification of their drivers in their major circuit series such as the Cup Series,” he said.
He also wants to see a more welcoming and inclusive environment in the stands and hopes to partner with NASCAR to send more young people of color to races.
“We want to be there again to stand with Bubba Wallace and those who support Bubba Wallace,” he said. “We also want to be there again to send a message to Steve Phelps that this is not something you have to advocate for, this change in your sport, something that you have to advocate for alone.”
Drumwright is already planning a second trip to Bristol Motor Speedway for NASCAR’s All-Star Race on July 15.
“There are some people that are doing great work around racial inequality that are willing to come and travel all that way to see that the work is done,” he said.