Cam Newton
Jodie Valade / WFAE

There's no shortage of big sports news this week.

Former Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton has a one-year signed deal. NASCAR’s only full-time, top-level African American driver, Bubba Wallace, is becoming the face of the sport as another racial incident occurs involving him, and ACC Commissioner John Swofford is retiring. Langston Wertz Jr., a veteran sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer, joins us to talk about these topics and more for Time Out For Sports.

'The Noose Was Real' - NASCAR Releases Photo From Talladega

Jun 25, 2020
Courtesy NASCAR

Declaring “the noose was real,” NASCAR officials on Thursday released a photo of the rope found in the speedway garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace that prompted a federal investigation into whether he had been the target of a hate crime.

No Charges In NASCAR Noose Incident

Jun 23, 2020
Zach Catanzareti Photo / Flickr

The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October, federal authorities said Tuesday in announcing there will be no charges filed in an incident that rocked NASCAR and its only fulltime Black driver.

Chris Graythen / Getty Images/NASCAR

There's still a lot of uncertainty in professional sports and sports at all levels due to the coronavirus. Numerous players and staff have tested positive as comebacks are being planned and carried out. And in other sports news, a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR's only current Black driver, Bubba Wallace, who was given a lot of credit for NASCAR officials banning the Confederate flag at race events.

The FBI has joined NASCAR in an investigation into who left a noose in the racetrack garage of African American driver Bubba Wallace.

The incident happened Sunday in Wallace's garage area at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Stock car's top drivers are there for the annual Talladega race. It was postponed Sunday because of bad weather and rescheduled for Monday.

Earnhardt Jr. Headlines NASCAR's 2021 Hall Of Fame Class

Jun 17, 2020
Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Zach Catanzareti Photo / Flickr

Dale Earnhardt Jr. spent his whole life chasing meaningful rewards.

He waited longingly for a pat on the back from his famous father, worked diligently to generate compliments from crew members and other drivers and reveled in the roar of his fans — those he inherited from his father and the new ones he brought along for the ride.

Photo by Sean Gardner/NASCAR via Getty Images

CHARLOTTE — NASCAR is set to allow up to 30,000 fans at the track in Bristol next month when it moves the All-Star race out of Charlotte Motor Speedway for just the second time in the history of the race.

Larry McTighe / U.S. Air Force photo

A lot of sports news over the past week coincides with the demonstrations being held nationwide against police brutality and racism. NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at race events and the statue of former Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson was taken down. Also in sports news, Gastonia native Harold Varner had a good showing at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth this weekend. 

A NASCAR team debuted a new "Blue Lives Matter" paint scheme on its Chevy Camaro over the weekend at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Xfinity Series driver Kyle Weatherman and his racing team said it was a show of solidarity with law enforcement officers and first responders to thank them for their "service, sacrifice and dedication."

Bubba Wallace has yet to win a race in NASCAR's premier Cup series, but he's been thrust into the spotlight as the lone African American driver in a sport steeped in white Southern heritage.

NASCAR Bans Confederate Flag From Its Races And Properties

Jun 10, 2020
nascar race in dover
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Morris

NASCAR banned the Confederate flag from its races and venues on Wednesday, formally severing itself from what for many is a symbol of slavery and racism.

Darrell "Bubba" Wallace, the first full-time African-American driver on NASCAR's top circuit in more than 45 years, wasn't always offended by the Confederate flag.

But now he wants them banned from all races.


NASCAR is set to allow fans back at the track for races this month at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.

NASCAR Looks To Steer Clear Of Protests Over George Floyd

Jun 7, 2020
Senior Airman Rae Perry / U.S. Air Force

HAMPTON, Ga. — NASCAR has a checkered racial history.

From an affinity for Confederate flags among the fan base to a driver losing his job just this season for casually uttering a racial slur, the sport never been known for diversity.

Keselowski Wins Coca-Cola 600 To Extend Johnson's Losing Streak

May 25, 2020

CONCORD — Brad Keselowski, in a contract year and trying to up his value in free agency, gave Roger Penske a victory on what should have been the most celebrated day in motorsports but was instead just a 6-plus hour NASCAR show.

NASCAR veteran Kevin Harvick celebrated his win at Darlington last Sunday, without the usual crowd in Victory Lane.
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images/NASCAR

NASCAR is one of the first U.S. sports to return to competition amid the coronavirus pandemic, and it comes with big changes. No fans are allowed, and, at least for now, all the races are at or near the sport's hub in Charlotte. Officials hope excitement around the return to live racing will bring new fans. 

Kevin Harvick
NASCAR Twitter

NASCAR had a comeback this weekend with races in South Carolina. Drivers returned to the tracks with no fans. Speaking of returning, professional leagues like the NFL and NBA are making plans to restart games amid the coronavirus pandemic. There's also some exciting news for local golf fans. Langston Wertz Jr., a longtime sportswriter for the Charlotte Observer, joins us to discuss these headlines and more. 

Kevin Harvick took his second career win at Darlington Raceway on Sunday, in the first NASCAR race to take place since early March — and now, without fans.

After pulling himself out of the car, Harvick admitted to thinking racing wouldn't be too different without cheering crowds in the stands.

But "it's dead silent out here," he said. "We miss the fans."

NASCAR Putting Its Safety Plan To Test As Racing Restarts

May 16, 2020
nascar race in dover
U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Morris

Crew chief Chad Knaus won't get a look at the car Hendrick Motorsports built for Darlington Raceway until he gets to the track Sunday morning, a few hours before the race.

Kurt Busch? He's already sat in his Chip Ganassi Racing car and met with his crew chief.

Larry McTighe / U.S. Air Force photo

NASCAR is returning with the first of three days of racing in Darlington, South Carolina on May 17. Four other races this month will be held in Charlotte. The governors of both states gave green lights to the events as they began to reopen the states from stay-at-home orders.

No fans will be allowed and numerous safety precautions will be in place due to COVID 19. Doug Rice, president of Performance Racing Network, says the pandemic has had a major effect on the industry.