No hate crime, FBI says -- rope likely used to pull down overhead door
(AP) - The FBI said Tuesday that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime after agents determined the noose found in Wallace’s Talladega, Alabama, garage was there as far back as last fall.
Federal authorities said there will be no charges filed.
The agencies concluded the rope hanging in the garage was fashioned like a noose, but photo evidence revealed it was there in October 2019 — well before Wallace’s arrival. U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Jonnie Sharp Jr. said “nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”
“We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” NASCAR said in a statement. “We remain steadfast in our commitment in providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
On Sunday, a crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose at the Alabama race track and alerted NASCAR officials. The racing company then contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to investigate.
Upon discovering the rope over the weekend, NASCAR said it strongly condemned the “heinous act,” adding it was “angry and outraged.” Wallace had said he was saddened by the “despicable act of racism.” The racing world rallied around Wallace, joining in a walk of solidarity before Monday’s race. An emotional Wallace, who was seen shedding tears following the walk, thanked fans after the race — high-fiving fans seen in “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts.