Update: June 23 at 6:30 p.m. ET
NASCAR released a statement today concerning the the FBI investigation at Talladega Superspeedway. According to the statement, the FBI completed its investigation and determined that driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime.
“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,” the NASCAR statement read. “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.”
What We Originally Reported on June 22
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A noose was found yesterday in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. And today, his peers pushed his No. 43 car to the front of the pack at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama in solidarity.
The moment took place before the Geico 500, which started at 3 p.m. ET, and was shared on the organization’s social media platforms. NASCAR also shared an image of the track’s infield grass, which featured the hashtag #IStandWithBubba written on it.
Wallace also shared a video clip on his personal Instagram account captioned “Together” with the drivers and crews that pushed his car standing behind him.
NASCAR confirmed in a statement today that a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall and announced an investigation was underway.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” a statement from NASCAR shared on social media read. “We have launched an investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”
The appearance of a noose in Wallace’s garage stall comes more than a week after NASCAR announced the ban of confederate flags at races, a move which the driver, as well as others, publicly called for.
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry. Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”
Prior to the ban, Richard Petty Motorsports on June 9 revealed Wallace’s car for the next day’s race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, which was painted black and featured Black Lives Matter-related hashtags and imagery.