NASCAR driver Jesse Iwuji reacts to racist DMs

Read what was sent to Jesse Iwuji just hours after it was announced he’s forming a new NASCAR team

Last week, a new NASCAR team was announced for the 2022 season. Iwuji has partnered with NFL Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith and together they’ll co-own Jesse Iwuji Motorsports.

Read the racist messages sent to Jesse Iwuji below.

Notable Live, a company owned by Emmitt Smith previously sponsored Iwuji’s No. 99 car at Texas Motor Speedway. That car is owned by B.J. McLeod in the Xfinity Series.

However, the great news of another new team in the sport also brought some unwanted attention.

Jessie Iwuji on meeting Emmitt Smith

Iwuji met Smith through his agent.

“We started throwing it at (Smith), like hey, you should be a part of this thing that we’re going to start, it’s going to be big,” Jesse Iwuji said.

“He was excited. He was like, you know what, yeah, I want to be part of that. Next thing you know, he’s putting different ideas together and figuring out a way to have it a little bit different than other people do.”

Iwuji is now a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves. He was active duty in the Navy from 2010-17.

“(Smith) saw me basically going from driving warships in 2014 to driving race cars in 2015,” Iwuji said.

“He saw that grind and he knew; you know what, I want to associate myself with a grinder. Anybody can have all the ideas in the world, have everything written down on lists, but at the end of the day, it takes a special person to be a true grinder.”

“Someone that makes things happen and he saw that in me. He knew no matter what, I was going to get this thing going in the right direction.”

Related: Wallace comments on kneeling and the Confederate flag at NASCAR races

Jesse Iwuji
Jesse Iwuji

Jesse Iwuji on bring a NASCAR team owner

“I always wanted to be an owner,” he added.

“I always wanted to run the thing because then I can have a say-so in how to build it and send it in the right direction. If I can see where it’s going, I can send it there. Not everyone is capable of seeing where things are going. Why leave it in their hands? Let me take over and make it happen.”

Iwuji has an idea for a number, 22. However, that’s currently held by Team Penske for their Xfinity effort.

“I’ve thought about it, yeah. I would love to have that number, if possible. Obviously, we don’t own that number. Penske’s had it forever. Who knows what’s going to happen over the next few months. But it’d be awesome to that number.”

Related: Bubba Wallace explains why he encouraged NASCAR to ban Confederate flag

Jesse Iwuji posts photo of racist direct message he was sent

But, with the good news came an added level of attention. Some of that attention brought negative energy and flat racist remarks.

Jesse Iwuji, “I don’t get racist messages like this one I received last night often, but they do happen. When they come, it’s just another annual reminder really to all of us that we as people need to continue to bring positivity to the world around us. It’s the only way to bring good change.”

The message he received came from a man named Donnie Burnett (@say_no_to_sleepy_joe45) on instagram:

The message read, “Stop trying to make everything black. It’s not our fault that you guys are the minority and that the whites were in this great country first. Go back to your shitty ass country.”

Several mimes featuring Donald Trump were then attached.

The man added, “The only black NASCAR driver in this board is Bubba Wallace and his is shit. That should tell you black people ain’t good at NASCAR.”

Related: Bubba Wallace insists he didn’t call every NASCAR fan racist


Jesse Iwuji | NASCAR