By: Ashley McCubbin
Following an investigation conducted by fifteen FBI special agents conducing numerous interviews, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found no federal crime was committed with the noose found at Talladega Superspeedway.
“The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week,” the statement reads. “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.”
Wood Brothers Racing was parked in the stall last year at Talladega in the fall, and brought the rope to NASCAR’s attention through images and video taken that weekend.
NASCAR released a statement repeating the same sentiments in that the FB1 found Wallace “was not the target of a hate crime,” repeating the findings of the noose in the garage last fall.
“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” they added. “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.”
NASCAR President Steve Phelps released a longer statement with the media afterwards.
“For us at NASCAR, this is the best result we could hope for,” he stated. “It was disturbing to hear that it was thought that one of our own had committed this heinous act. It is fantastic to hear from the FBI definitively that there was not a hate crime.
“I do want to make sure everyone understands that if given the evidence that we had was delivered to us on Saturday night or late Saturday afternoon, we would do the same thing. We would have done the same investigation. It was important for us to do. There is no place in our sport for this type of racism or hatred. It’s not part of who we are as a sport.”
Phelps also clarified a crew member brought it to NASCAR’s attention, and the investigation was launched from thereafter. He went on to add even given the circumstances, he would follow the same protocols.
Additionally, NASCAR wants to continue investigating to determine why a rope was tied in that fashion – and in just a single garage stall at that, and when they have further information, they will share with everyone while taking questions.
Phelps also addressed the stance the sport took yesterday with the drivers and crew gathering around Wallace for pre-race ceremonies.
“Yesterday to me as a sport was one of the most important days we’ve had,” he commente. “It’s one of the most kind of indelible print on my mind until the day I die, seeing the support that Bubba had from not just the drivers but all the crews, all the officials who were down in pit road, anyone who was part of that footprint. Everyone wanted to show their support for a family member of NASCAR. We are one big family. We are one large community. And everyone’s belief is that someone was attacking a member of our family.
“It turned out that that was not the case, but at the time that’s what our industry thought, so drivers, crew, our officials, everyone supported Bubba Wallace and the 43 team, and that was a very powerful image in not just the history of our sport but I think in all sports.”