RALEIGH, N.C. -- The North Carolina racetrack owner that made national news when he advertised the sale of "Bubba Rope" after a noose was found in the garage of NASCAR's only top series Black driver said he has lost sponsors. He also said his family, friends, business associates and others connected with him have been harassed and threatened.
In an interview with The News & Observer on Sunday, Mike Fulp, owner of 311 Speedway in Stokes County, said the Facebook Marketplace advertisement for the rope was meant to be a joke he now regrets.
"I have got friends of color, Hispanics, African American friends, and it was just a post that was supposed to have been a joke, you know joking, and it backfired," Fulp, 55, said.
Fulp, who has owned the half-mile race track in Pine Hall since 2010, posted the advertisement Wednesday on Facebook Marketplace that said "Buy your Bubba Rope today for only $9.99 each, they come with a lifetime warranty and work great," the Associated Press reported.
The advertisement was posted after a noose was found on June 21 in the Talladega Superspeedway garage of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR Cup Series' only Black driver. A federal investigation determined the rope had been in the garage for months. The situation followed NASCAR's ban on Confederate flags at its events at Wallace's urging.
"I am sorry for what I did. I will not voice my opinion (in) any way, any shape or form," Fulp said. "I am leaving social media. I am not a racist."
Fulp's rope post, which was taken down Thursday, was criticized by a spokesman for Gov. Roy Cooper, Rockingham Now reported.
"This incident of racism is horrific and shameful," Ford Porter, Cooper's communications manager, told Rockingham Now. "North Carolina is better than this."
In the 45-minute conversation with The News & Observer on Sunday, Fulp jumped from topic to topic, expressing dismay at the response he says has been directed toward him and associates.
"I have been thinking about it all night," he said. "I don't want to be hated by anybody. Black or white, Hispanic. I don't want nobody to hate me."