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NASCAR Releases Photo Of Noose Found In Garage Of Black Driver Bubba Wallace
The FBI has since concluded that a hate crime did not occur following an investigation.
NASCAR has released a photo of the noose given national attention by Black driver Bubba Wallace after it was discovered in his race car garage over the weekend.
The rope in question, which is intended to be used to pull down the garage door, had been tied into a noose and was found in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama Sunday. It prompted an investigation by the FBI, ESPN reported.
NASCAR concluded the probe on Thursday, with the FBI ruling that the noose had been present at the garage since October 2019 and Wallace was not subjected to a hate crime, according to the outlet. NASCAR released the photo of the noose the same day; it shows a rope fashioned into a noose hanging from what appears to be a garage door.
Wallace, driver of the number 43 car, is the only full-time Black NASCAR driver, according to ESPN. Reacting to the conclusion of the investigation, Wallace took to social media to thank his NASCAR family for their support and said that he was “relieved” that a hate crime had not taken place.
"First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn’t what we feared it was," his statement reads. "I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a racial 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," Wallace continued.
Ahead of the GEICO 500 race on Monday, other drivers and crew team members gathered to march alongside Wallace’s car in a show of support, according to the NASCAR website.
The initial discovery of the noose deeply concerned NASCAR officials. President Steve Phelps said on Thursday that after seeing the “symbol of hate,” the company’s reaction was to “protect [their] driver.”
"Given the facts presented to us, we would have pursued this with the same sense of urgency and purpose," Phelps said, according to ESPN. "Upon learning of 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 — that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace.”
Phelps said that the company searched more than 1,500 garages across 29 tracks; only 11 had pull-down ropes tied into a knot, and the only noose was found in the garage Wallace had been assigned to use.
The investigation did not uncover who tied the noose or why, but Phelps said that cameras will be installed in NASCAR garages, according to ESPN.