NASCAR released a photo Thursday of the noose found in the garage of Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway, two days after the FBI said photographic evidence showed that the noose was a way to pull down the garage door and had been there since last fall.
President Steve Phelps said NASCAR asked officials at 29 tracks to inspect their garages. In looking at 1,684 garage stalls, they found 11 pull-down ropes that were knotted and one tied into a noose -- the one at the Alabama track in the stall of Wallace, who is Black.
"Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. We're living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace," Phelps said. "In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged' in our statement.
"As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba."
Wallace is the only Black driver on NASCAR's premier Cup Series and the leading voice behind the sport's push for racial equality, including its recent ban of the Confederate flag at its facilities.
The noose was found by a Richard Petty Motorsports crew member Sunday night, bringing immediate rebukes from Wallace and NASCAR, and leading to the FBI's involvement.
"After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed," the FBI said in a statement on Tuesday. "The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. 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."
--Field Level Media