The FBI has determined that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been on a garage door at Talladega Superspeedway since as early as last fall, NASCAR said Tuesday.
“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 in its statement. “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.”
No charges will be filed, the FBI said.
U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said its investigation determined “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.”
A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose Sunday at the Alabama race track. NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the track to investigate.
The agencies said no crime was committed and the evidence did not support federal charges.
Two weeks ago, Wallace, who is NASCAR’s only Black driver, successfully pushed the stock car racing series to ban the Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities.
On Monday, Wallace was joined by all 39 other drivers and their crews in a march down pit road as they pushed his No. 43 to the front of the line in the moments before the race. When the group reached the front line Monday, Wallace climbed out of his car and wept.
“This sport is changing,” Wallace said after the race. “The prerace deal was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to witness in my life. From all the supporters, from drivers to crew members, everybody here, the badass fan base, thank you guys for coming out. This is truly incredible, and I’m glad to be a part of this sport.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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