FBI determines NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace ‘not the target of a hate crime’
The FBI said Tuesday it has determined that NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace was not the target of a hate crime after investigating a noose found in a garage assigned to the driver at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
Based on an investigation and video confirmed by NASCAR, the “noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019,” U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI special agent Charles Johnnie Sharp, Jr., said in a joint statement Tuesday.
“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,” they added.
NASCAR said in a statement Sunday that an investigation had been launched after a noose was found in Wallace’s garage.
NASCAR thanked the FBI for investigating the situation.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” the organization said in a statement, two days after the noose was first found.
“The FBI report concludes and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there as early as last fall,” the statement said. “This was obviously well before the 43 team’s aerial 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,” NASCAR added. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2020
Wallace said Tuesday in an interview on ABC’s “The View” that the president of NASCAR had informed him Sunday about what NASCAR thought to be a noose found in his stall.
“He called and wanted to come over and talk face to face, and he had told me what had happened, and tears was in his eyes … He was so upset,” Wallace said. “I didn’t know what to say or what to do. I have never, obviously, never had that happen, and not being able to see it directly I was just kind of thinking, trying to process it all.”
The investigation into what was thought to be a noose was launched just weeks after Wallace, the racing circuit’s only African American driver, emblazoned a “Black Lives Matter” message across his car after he successfully led a push for the organization to prohibit displays of the Confederate flag.
NASCAR announced earlier this month it would ban displays of the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.