NASCAR, citing an FBI report, described the item as “garage door ropes made as a trap.”
“The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week,” the agency said Tuesday. “The investigation also uncovered evidence, including a credible video confirmed by NASCAR, that the hole was found in garage number 4 in that garage as early as October 2019. Although saliva is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, no one has they could have known that Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week. “
NASCAR issued a statement regarding the FBI’s decision saying, “We appreciate the FBI’s prompt and thorough investigation and thank you for learning that it was not a deliberate, racist act against Bubba.”
“We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all race-lovers,” NASCAR said.
The revelation of a dark Sunday afternoon in Wallace’s garage in Talladega came as the United States, and in particular NASCAR, which is more openly concerned with American systemic racism following the police assassination of George Floyd.
Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR’s main circuit, was an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement and the corresponding protests against racism and police brutality.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, NASCAR President Steve Phelps said the FBI finding was “the best result we can hope for.”
“The team (No. 43) had nothing to do with it,” Phelps said. Wallace drives car number 43.
“The evidence is very clear that the noose that was in that garage used to be in the garage,” Phelps continued. “The last race we had there was in October, there was a jet present, and that was – the fact that it wasn’t found until member 43 of the team got there is something of a fact. We didn’t go back to the garage. It was a quick one-day show. he went back in. He looked and saw a trap, pointed it out to the crew chief who then went to NASCAR series director Jay Fabian, and we launched this investigation.
“To be clear, we would do it again. From the evidence we had, it was clear that we needed to examine it.”
Phelps did not answer media questions during the interview. NASCAR said Wallace had never seen the noose.
A NASCAR spokesman said on the call that the NASCAR investigation would continue until the federal investigation was completed.
Wallace wore a “I can’t breathe” T-shirt before one event, searched the car with the phrase “Black Lives Matter,” and called on NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which the organization agreed to do on June 10th.
Wallace tweeted Sunday that the “disgusting act” left him “incredibly sad and serves as a painful reminder of how far we need to go as a society and how persistent we need to be in the fight against racism.”
“This is not going to break me, I’m not going to give up or give up. I’m going to continue to proudly represent what I believe in,” Wallace said.
On Monday, NASCAR drivers, crew members and others walked past Wallace and followed car number 43 in support ahead of the race.
CNN’s Dianne Gallagher and Kevin Dotson contributed to this report.