Following the apparent discovery of a noose in the Talladega garage of Nascar's only black driver, Bubba Wallace, it turns out that it was just a very unfortunate coincidence
The noose was reported by a member of Wallace’s team and Nascar took very strong action, involving the FBI in discovering who may have placed it in the garage - generally a locked, secure place.
The way Nascar responded turned out to be an incredibly powerful sporting moment as the teams escorted Wallace’s car to the head of the pack before the race, with Wallace speaking eloquently after the race.
However, on Tuesday, the investigation concluded that the noose in the garage had actually been there for months - long before the No.43 crew was assigned the garage - and is believed to be a rope used to pull the door shut. The FBI report reads:
“The FBI learned that garage number four, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by Nascar, that the noose found in garage number four was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number four in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number four last week.”
This is really good news - not only because it means that a hate crime hasn’t been committed, but because the swift and united way Nascar responded shows just how seriously it takes such situations.
Speaking to media after the news, series president Steve Phelps said that given the evidence that was available at the time, Nascar would proceed in the exact same way again.
“I want to be clear about the 43 team: The 43 team had nothing to do with it. 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. The fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact. We had not been back to the garage.
“It was a quick, one-day show. The crew member went back in there, he looked and saw the noose, brought it to the attention of his crew chief, who then went to the Nascar series director Jay Fabian and we launched this investigation.
“To be clear, we would do this again. The evidence that we had, it was clear that we needed to look into the incident.”
The garage had previously been occupied by the Wood Brothers team, who released a statement of their own concerning the rope: