The noose found in the garage stall used by NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway in Lincoln, Alabama, on Sunday wasn’t meant as a racist attack on him, the FBI said Tuesday.
In fact, evidence obtained during an investigation showed that the rope in the garage assigned to Wallace on Sunday had been there since last October.
The bureau released a statement saying the noose wasn’t intended as a threat toward Wallace, a Black driver who called for the removal of Confederate flags from the racing circuit earlier this month.
“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.
“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 FBI said no criminal charges would be filed.
The complete statement appears below, courtesy of The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck.
NASCAR said in a statement that the noose had turned out to be a “pull rope” for the garage door. It also said it was “thankful to learn that it was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
According to a statement from Wood Brothers Racing, a rival stock car racing team, an employee mentioned seeing a tied rope resembling a noose that was used to pull down the door in Garage No. 4 last year.
Gluck also tweeted a photo comparison that supports the claim that the noose was a pull handle.
Wallace has yet to comment on the findings of the investigation, but after he first reported the noose and his concern about what it represented, his fellow NASCAR drivers and crew members joined together to show support by pushing him and his No. 43 car on the racetrack.