LINCOLN, Ala. (WCMH) — Thursday, NASCAR shared the findings from the organization’s internal investigation into the noose found in the garage stall of no. 43 driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway, along with a photo of the noose.
NASCAR’s update comes one day after the FBI investigation concluded no federal hate crime had been committed against Wallace. The FBI investigation determined the garage pull rope shaped into a noose had been in the garage since as early as October 2019.
“Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said in a report on NASCAR.com. “In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement.
“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” Phelps continued. “With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family. Because they are part of the NASCAR family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
Wallace told CNN in an interview on Tuesday, “What was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull…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.”
Phelps detailed the findings of the investigation on a teleconference Thursday. He said each track walked all their respective garages after the discovery at Talladega on Sunday. Of 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, only 11 total had a pull-down rope tied into a knot, and only one noose.
During the teleconference, Phelps said the investigation revealed the noose was not in place when the October 2019 race began, but was created that weekend. Investigators could not determine who did it or why.
“Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps reiterated. “Bubba Wallace has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity.”
Phelps said going forward, they will conduct thorough sweeps and install cameras in garages to ensure nothing like this happens again. All members of the NASCAR industry will complete sensitivity training, as they want all competitors to feel safe, and every guest to feel welcome.
Wallace is the only Black NASCAR driver.