NASCAR now says that Bubba Wallace was “not the target of a hate crime” after the FBI concluded that a “garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose” had been in the garage stall since as “early as last fall.” NASCAR now says that “this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
That statement came after NASCAR’s earlier contention that a noose was found in the garage stall of Wallace at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
In a June 23, 2020 statement, NASCAR said:
The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. 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. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our inclusive environment for all who love racing.
U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. released a joint statement “Regarding the Noose Found in NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace’s Garage at Talladega Superspeedway.
On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.
The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.
The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.
Social media has been awash even before the NASCAR statement with people raising supposed comparisons to Jussie Smollett and questioning the story. However, Wallace did not find the noose himself, according to Cassie Fambro, a journalist with WBRC-TV in Alabama. A previous Facebook post that made it sound like NASCAR had confirmed that Wallace confused a noose for a serpentine belt was false. NASCAR’s post on the pull rope is different.
“FYI: Bubba did not find the noose, it was a team member, and the serpentine belt rumor is fake,” she wrote on Twitter.
The Wall Street Journal reported that both the FBI and the Department of Justice were investigating the discovery of “a noose in the Alabama race-track garage of Bubba Wallace,” and said that “just a small number of racing personnel had access to the garage before the noose was found on Sunday.”
NASCAR rallied around Wallace, who is black, since the incident. Jeff Gluck writes about auto racing for The Athletic Motorsports. He shared a video, writing, “The entire NASCAR garage walks with Bubba Wallace and pushes his car to the front of the field prior to today’s race at Talladega.”
Here’s what you need to know:
NASCAR Previously Said a Noose Was found in the Garage Stall of the 43 Team
This is the statement NASCAR released on June 21.
Late Sunday afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.
Wallace also released an earlier statement. It reads,
Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate. As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.
Bob Pockrass, a Fox Sports reporter, tweeted previously, “NASCAR says it will work with law enforcement to determine if any crimes have been committed.of a noose being placed in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall.”
In the wake of George Floyd’s death, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at its events.