Both NASCAR and Bubba Wallace have been under immense scrutiny after the organization revealed a noose was found in the driver’s garage in Talladega. With plenty of rumors circulating the internet, it is important to retrace the timeline of events and what the investigation uncovered.
NASCAR released a statement on July 21 noting they had been alerted “that a noose was found in the garage of the 43 team.” NASCAR teamed up with the FBI to begin an investigation into how the noose ended up in the garage and whether Wallace was targeted with a hate crime. The organization also publicly stated they were prepared to ban the perpetrator from the sport.
Two days later, NASCAR revealed on July 23 that the investigation concluded that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. One important note, NASCAR continued to refer to the rope as a “noose” and would later say that none of the other garages featured the item tied in the same manner.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR explained in a statement. “The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”
Here is a look at the photo NASCAR released of what was found in Wallace’s garage.
NASCAR just released a photo of the garage pull rope that was fashioned into a noose at Talladega. pic.twitter.com/gRAUAJoYv2
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 25, 2020
NASCAR Confirmed That There Was a Noose & Strongly Denied the Hoax Rumors
There have been hoax rumors with some fans suggesting that Wallace orchestrated this controversy to gain attention. This is not true for several reasons namely that it was a member of Wallace’s team that alerted NASCAR to the noose prior to the driver seeing it. Multiple reporters, NASCAR and Wallace all confirmed that he did not report the noose as he did not initially see it.
Despite NASCAR denying it was a hate crime carried out against Wallace, the organization maintains that it was a noose. NASCAR released a photo of the noose on June 25 and noted that they surveyed thousands of garage stalls around the country only to find one tied like the rope found in Wallace’s stall.
“NASCAR president Steve Phelps says NASCAR conducted a ‘thorough sweep of all 29 tracks where they race, and 1684 garage stalls, they found only 11 total ropes that had a pulldown rope tied in a knot, and just one noose: The one in Bubba Wallace garage,'” ESPN’s Marty Smith tweeted.
Bubba Noted the Rope Was Still a Noose Even If It Was Not Directed at Him
Wallace spoke with CNN after NASCAR initially released their findings. Wallace confirmed that the investigation found the rope was not directed at him, but described what he later saw as a “straight-up noose.”
“What was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull,” Wallace noted. “…It was a noose. Whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.”
As for the hoax allegations, Wallace admitted that these rumors make him angry. The driver noted that the allegation “fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up.”
“This will not break me, none of the allegations of being a hoax will break me or tear me down,” Wallace responded. “It will piss me off, absolutely. But that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up,”
Summary of NASCAR’s Investigation: There Was a Noose in Bubba’s Garage, But It Had Been There Since October 2019
To summarize NASCAR’s findings, there was a noose in Wallace’s garage, but it was not aimed at the driver. The rope had been tied that way since October 2019. Phelps admitted he wished the word “alleged” was in the original statement, but NASCAR was worried for Wallace given how it appeared.
“NASCAR says it investigated how the noose got there in the first place. It was tied sometime during the October 2019 race weekend, but NASCAR was unable to determine who did it. It asked all 29 tracks to look for other nooses this week and this was the only one found,” The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck tweeted.
Wallace released a statement noting he was relieved to know it was not directed at him, but emphasized that the powerful image of his fellow NASCAR drivers’ support should not be dismissed.
“It has been an emotional few days,” Wallace noted on Twitter. “First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn’t what we feared it was. I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat. I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been. Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we’ve made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all.”