NASCAR: FBI confirms there was never any noose crime

Bubba Wallace, Talladega, NASCAR, Cup Series (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Bubba Wallace, Talladega, NASCAR, Cup Series (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The FBI investigation surrounding the so-called “noose” in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace determined that there was never a noose, just a garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose.

On Sunday evening after the race at Talladega Superspeedway had been postponed to Monday due to rain, NASCAR released a statement saying that a noose had been found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the lone African-American Cup Series driver.

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

An FBI investigation ensued, and after that investigation and all of the uncertainty that has dominated the sport since then, it has been determined that there was not noose placed in garage stall, and no hate crime had been committed.

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What appeared to be the noose was a simple garage pull rope that had been positioned like a noose since the race at the four-turn, 2.66-mile (4.281-kilometer) high-banked oval in Lincoln, Alabama in October — also a rain-delayed Monday event.

While that could technically still be classified as a “noose” based on the definition of the word, for the purpose of the hate crime investigation, it was determined that there was no real “noose” placed in the garage, per the FBI report.

Nobody could have predicted that it would be Wallace, of all drivers, who ended up with his #43 team in this particular stall for this past weekend’s race, especially given the fact that this race was initially scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 26 but had to be pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Here is what NASCAR’s latest statement said.

“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. 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. 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 finished Monday’s race in 14th place, and many drivers shared their anger over the so-called “hate crime” and rallied behind the driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet. Fortunately for Wallace, he was not actually the target of a hate crime.

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There will be more information to come on this topic with NASCAR President Steve Phelps slated to speak on the matter this evening.