Out of all 1,684 garage pull ropes at 29 racing tracks where NASCAR holds national events, only one was found tied like a noose - the one in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway, according to NASCAR President Steve Phelps, Fox Sports reported.
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 25, 2020
Many users on Twitter pointed out that the rope is undeniably a noose, while others stated that regardless of whether the noose was intended to be found by Wallace, the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR has a racism issue it needs to fix.
— Barbara Patterson (@patte151) June 25, 2020
— TCT (@TwoCarTandem) June 25, 2020
— JD AutoTalk (@JDAutoTalk) June 25, 2020
— Tyler Reddick (@TylerReddick) June 24, 2020
“After campaigning for NASCAR to ban the confederate flag, painting #BlackLivesMatter on his car and wearing an ‘I can’t breathe’ shirt bubba had around a .0625% chance of getting the one garage at Talladega that had the noose hanging in it. Not a coincidence,” one user wrote.
The FBI on June 23 stated that its investigation found that no federal hate crime was committed in relation to the noose.
“Fifteen special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding the event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” the FBI noted.
“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 the 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 that Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” the FBI continued in its statement.
Phelps addressed the situation on Thursday.
“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,” he said Thursday during a news conference, NBC affiliate WMC5 reported.
“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family,” Phelps added.
Wallace has spoken out against police brutality and racism after the police killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd in May. He called for NASCAR to ban the display of Confederate flags at events, which it eventually did on June 10. During a pre-race ceremony in Atlanta, Georgia, earlier this month, Wallace wore a T-shirt bearing the words "I Can't Breathe/Black Lives Matter."