NASCAR on Thursday released photos of the noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage last weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.
Reports of the noose broke late Sunday night, and the immediate reaction was a hate crime had been committed with Wallace being the only Black driver in NASCAR right now. However, a quick FBI investigation ruled out a targeted hate crime, revealing the noose had been there since last fall. That Wallace randomly ended up with that stall for last week’s race was an unfortunate coincidence.
Following the FBI’s announcement, however, conspiracy theorists debated the merits of the entire story with some even wondering whether there actually was a noose on the garage door or whether it was just a rope pull. NASCAR made it clear Thursday that even if it was being used as a rope pull, there clearly is a noose hanging from the door.
Warning: The image below might be considered graphic for some.
Wood Brothers Racing, the team that used the same stall at last fall’s Talladega race, said in a statement Tuesday it alerted NASCAR during the investigation that a team member saw the noose at the fall race.
“One of our employees alerted us (Monday) morning that, without knowing the details of the incident, he recalled seeing a tied handle in the garage pull-down rope last fall.”
NASCAR insisted it would change nothing in its reaction under similar circumstances moving forward.
“I do want to make sure everyone understands that if given the evidence that we had was delivered to us (Sunday), we would do the same thing,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said Tuesday on a conference call after the FBI’s findings. “We would have done the same investigation. It was important for us to do. There is no place in our sport for this type of racism or hatred. It’s not part of who we are as a sport.”
Seeing the photo and given the racially charged climate of the country and NASCAR’s recent stand against racism, it’s easy to see how this all could have happened.
Thumbnail photo via John David Mercer/USA TODAY Sports Images