An FBI investigation into the noose found in the garage stall of NASCAR Cup driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega has concluded that no hate crime had been committed.
The pull down rope on Bubba Wallace’s garage stall door, fashioned in a way that resembles a noose, led NASCAR to investigate the incident and involve the FBI, but appears to have been a misunderstanding as the rope had been in place since 2019.
A joint statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. regarding the incident and their investigation read:
“On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.
“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.
“The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws.
“We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”
NASCAR released its own statement on Tuesday, reiterating its commitment to pursuing a more inclusive environment within the category, which recently involved the banning of all Confederate flags from NASCAR events.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” it read.
“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.”
Photographs showed the rope, which resembled a noose, hanging from the same garage door when the Wood Brothers Racing team was assigned the stall last year.