Noose in Bubba Wallace's Garage There Since Last Fall, Driver Not the Target of a Hate Crime: FBI
"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," said a joint statement from the FBI and U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town
The noose found by a member of Bubba Wallace's team in his garage at the Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, over the weekend has been in that stall since October of last year, the FBI's investigation into the incident found.
The FBI determined Tuesday that no hate crime had been committed against Wallace, who is the first Black full-time driver to race in the Cup Series in nearly 50 years.
"After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed," said the FBI and U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town in a joint statement Tuesday, saying that 15 special agents conducted interviews on Monday.
The noose found in Wallace's garage stall Sunday "was in that garage as early as October 2019," the FBI said, citing evidence that included "authentic video confirmed by NASCAR."
"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 joint statement said. No federal charges will be pursued.
"The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime," NASCAR said in a statement Tuesday. "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," the statement continued. "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 commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing," the statement concluded.
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NASCAR previously called the noose a "heinous act" and promised to "do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport."
On Sunday, Wallace, who did not see the noose but was told about it by a team member, addressed the incident on Twitter, saying it left him "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."
On Tuesday his team, Richard Perry Motorsports, thanked NASCAR for the swift investigation. In the statement, the team said after the noose was discovered the team member notified the crew chief as is protocol who, in turn, notified NASCAR.
"Sickening!" the Los Angeles Lakers star wrote on Twitter Sunday upon hearing the news of the noose being found. "@BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! @NASCAR I salute you as well!"
Wallace recently called on the stock-car racing organization to remove Confederate flags at raceways — which NASCAR did.
"The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry," the company said in a statement on June 10.
"Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special," the statement said. "The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties."
Wallace has not yet addressed the investigation's findings, but wrote on Instagram earlier on Tuesday, "Supporting and thanking the pre-existing fans, and encouraging the new ones. For all of those new to the sport, we welcome you with open arms."
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make the government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help Black youth succeed in college and beyond.