Noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage there since October, feds say

Published: Jun. 23, 2020 at 5:46 PM CDT
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Federal authorities say a noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway over the weekend had been there since 2019.

No federal charges will be filed.

“The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week,” a joint statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and FBI said. “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.”

Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR, successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago.

“We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” a NASCAR statement said.

NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the series is continuing its own investigation to determine why a noose had been in that garage stall at all. He added that it wasn’t directed at Wallace was “a great conclusion for us” but was adamant NASCAR would have conducted its investigation the same way even now knowing it wasn’t a hate crime.”

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 Wood Brothers Racing team said one of its employees informed the team he recalled “seeing a tied handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall,” when NASCAR raced at Talladega in October. The team said it immediately alerted NASCAR and assisted the investigation.

“The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws,” the statement said. “We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”

NASCAR rallied around Wallace after the discovery of the noose.

All 39 of his rival drivers and their crews helped push Wallace’s car to the front of pit road on Monday before the national anthem and stood behind him in solidarity.