US President Donald Trump continued with his policy of using race to detract from his government's failings in tackling COVID-19.
No stranger to race-baiting rhetoric, Trump claimed on Twitter on Monday that the recent discovery of a noose in the garage of Bubba Wallace was a 'hoax'.
Wallace is currently NASCAR's only black full-time driver.
Trump also claimed that NASCAR as was enduring its "lowest ratings ever" after its decision to ban display of the Confederate flag.
Last month, a noose was found in Wallace's team garage at Talladega Superspeedway.
The discovery led to emotional shows of support from his fellow drivers.
Wallace himself never came in contact with the noose, as drivers aren't allowed in team garages. The Richard Petty driver was alerted to its discovery by NASCAR president Steve Phelps.
Following an investigation, NASCAR said, "Across the 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, NASCAR found only 11 total that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot and only one noose — the one discovered Sunday in the No. 43 garage stall."
Tyler Reddick was among those who responded to Trump's baseless claim on Monday, saying, "We don’t need an apology. We did what was right and we will do just fine without your support."
Which brings us to the claim that NASCAR is suffering from its "lowest ratings ever".
Clearly, this is untrue. Trump's favourite network Fox says their own NASCAR ratings are up 8 per cent since the return from hiatus on May 17.
FOX Sports EVP / Head of Strategy Michael Mulvihill tweeted as much on Monday.
NASCAR viewership on Fox networks is up +8% since returning from its pandemic hiatus on May 17.
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) July 6, 2020
Similarly, NBC Sports tweeted on Sunday to say viewership figures for NASCAR Xfinity Series were also on the increase.
Both INDYCAR and NASCAR Xfinity score viewership milestones on Crossover Saturday pic.twitter.com/RN4ilrrXpS
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) July 5, 2020
So, just so we're all clear....
The noose discovered in Bubba Wallace's garage was not a 'hoax'.
His fellow drivers say Wallace has no reason to apologise.
NASCAR ratings are verifiably not their lowest ever, or even suffering post Confederate flag-ban.