African American NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime earlier this week, according to the FBI.
NASCAR released the news via Twitter after the FBI investigated the incident where on Sunday (June 21) a noose was found hanging by the driver’s garage at Talladega speedway.
“The FBI completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” the statement began. “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. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.”
[RELATED: NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Speaks Out After a Noose is Found Hanging in His Garage Stall— “This Will Not Break Me”]
NASCAR concluded by saying, “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.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2020
The race which took place on Monday (June 22), after being postponed due to rain, saw drivers rally around Wallace in unity and support. Legendary driver Richard Petty (82), attended the race in solidarity with Bubba.
NASCAR drivers and crew stood behind their fellow driver with a powerful start to the race. They walked alongside Bubba’s car, pushing it to the front of the field during pre-race, before each driver individually embraced Wallace.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) June 22, 2020
Following the noose incident, Wallace took to social media to speak out against the hateful act and racism.
“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” Wallace wrote on Sunday (June 21) on his Twitter page. “Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry, including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone.”
NASCAR made it clear that racism would not be tolerated and that they would get to the bottom of who the person(s) was that committed the hate crime.
“Late Sunday afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminated them from the sport,” the statement read. “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 incident comes on the heals of Bubba Wallace asking for the confederate flag to be banned from NASCAR events. The organization agreed and put the ban into effect immediately.
“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,” NASCAR statement read. “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.”
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020