Talladega, AL – The FBI stated that black NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope to a garage door had been fashioned like a noose at the Talladega Superspeedway.
The pull rope had been hanging on the garage door since October, according to ESPN.
“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,” NASCAR said, according to ESPN.
“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” NASCAR said. “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.”
Wallace is NASCAR’s only full-time black driver.
He had gotten NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its venues about two weeks ago, according to ESPN.
Wallace wore an “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirt before one race and had his car repainted with the “Black Lives Matter” phrase, according to CNN.
U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said that although the pull rope was known to have been in the garage number 4 in 2019, nobody would have known that Wallace would have been assigned that particular garage.
Both agencies said no crime was committed, according to ESPN.
“For us in NASCAR, this is the best result we could hope for,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said, according to ESPN. “This is … 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.”
A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports found the noose on Sunday at the racetrack, ESPN reported. NASCAR was alerted and the FBI was contacted. The FBI sent 15 agents to investigate.