CONCORD, N.C. -- Before Monday's race at Talladega Superspeedway, an emotional moment was held on pit road as the entire NASCAR field stood in solidarity with driver Bubba Wallace.
Drivers, pit crews and crew chiefs all walked with Wallace and pushed his car toward the front of pit road, then stood around him as the national anthem was recited before the race.
Jimmie Johnson was a huge part in organizing a movement to rally around Wallace after a noose was found in the No. 43 garage stall on Sunday.
"I'm obviously very proud of our sport, the drivers and crew members that wanted to stand up and stand next to Bubba Wallace. That's really the moral of this story," he said. "A lot of people reached out to me (Monday) morning with ideas ... I certainly have been involved in playing a role in trying to help organize, get things executed and done.
"This is really a driver initiative. Many drivers chipped in. Kevin Harvick had the idea of pushing Bubba's car down the front stretch to the front of the field (and to) have the teams follow. I'm happy to play a role in it. I want to. I know I need to."
Wallace was in his car as the drivers pushed it down the stretch and everyone else walked behind it. When he got out of his car, Wallace was visibly emotional.
For Johnson, there was no question that something needed to be done to show Wallace he was supported. Johnson said the plan started to take shape early Monday morning and was formed several hours before the race.
"Early (Monday) morning I mentioned to the driver group that I was just going to go stand with Bubba at his car during the national anthem. If anybody wanted to meet me there, I was going to stand with him and be there," Johnson said. "When that seed was planted, the group really started coming up with ideas. Everybody wanted to get involved.
"After the drivers had a short period of time conversing, I understood that team managers and crew chiefs caught wind (and) they wanted to be involved. Within a short period of time, there was a plan in place. Of course, NASCAR was behind whatever we wanted to do 100% in support of that."
Johnson said he, like the other drivers, was furious, horrified and disgusted at the act committed against Wallace. However, those feelings turned to something more sincere and emotional as the entire field gathered around Wallace.
"For me, it was such a moment of pride that I shifted out of the dark place I was (in Monday) morning, and the disbelief that I had shifted into a moment of pride," he said. "Whoever did what they did is hopefully watching and realizes that not here, not in our sport. It switched to a far different emotion than I really even anticipated. There was just great pride involved."