NASCAR president Steve Phelps has revealed the company’s findings from their internal investigation into the noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall over the weekend.
Phelps went into detail about what they found Thursday via teleconference, as well as releasing a photo of the rope to the media a day after an FBI investigation concluded that no federal hate crime was committed against Wallace.
“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,” Phelps said. “In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement.”
He continued, “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. Because they are part of the NASCAR family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
NASCAR releases photo to the media of the garage pull rope formed as a noose from the Bubba Wallace garage Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
This image was provide by NASCAR. pic.twitter.com/Z4ZyBzpREF
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 25, 2020
The release also confirmed NASCAR officials had “asked each track to walk their respective garages following Sunday’s discovery. Across the 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, NASCAR found only 11 total that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot and only one noose — the one discovered Sunday in the No. 43 garage stall.”
“Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps added. “Bubba Wallace has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity.”
The findings come after a joint statement was released by U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr.
“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” it read.
According to the statement, the investigation allegedly found evidence — including video — that the noose found in Wallace’s garage had been there for months, “as early as October 2019. 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.”
As a result of the investigation’s findings, no federal charges will be pursued.
NASCAR also issued a statement earlier this week, confirming that the “garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall,” proving that “Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime” and “this was not an intentional, racist act.”