It turns out Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s Cup Series, wasn’t actually the victim of a hate crime this past weekend.
The FBI’s investigation into a reported “noose” in Wallace’s garage stall Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway, fortunately, resulted in the conclusion that the rope was actually installed to open and close the garage door. It has been there since at least October 2019, the FBI report said.
NASCAR on Tuesday released a statement with the findings, and president Steve Phelps made clear that Wallace and his No. 43 team weren’t involved in fabricating a racially-charged stunt, as some had speculated prior.
“I want to be clear about the 43 team: The 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps said, via FOX NASCAR. “The evidence is very clear that the noose that was in that garage, had been in the garage previously. The last race we had there in October, that noose was present.”
Phelps also said NASCAR is continuing investigations on the matter, and that Wallace’s specific stall assignment was the only one with a pull-down rope shaped similarly to a noose. That being said, Phelps doubled-down on NASCAR’s decision to call the FBI, and said they’d do it again if ever presented that evidence again.
You can listen to Phelps’ remarks below:
"The No. 43 team had nothing to do with this." NASCAR President Steve Phelps with more details on the results of the FBI's investigation from Talladega. pic.twitter.com/msk3iGjVul
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 23, 2020
The FBI development prompted quite a reaction on social media Tuesday, as well.