Los Angeles: NASCAR has released a photo of the rope tied like a noose that was found hanging in the Talladega garage stall used last weekend by Bubba Wallace, the Cup Series’ only black full-time driver.
The FBI investigated the incident and determined that a hate crime had not been committed against Wallace, since the rope had been knotted in such a fashion since at least last fall.
Nonetheless, the photo confirms what Wallace said in an interview earlier this week. “It’s a straight-up noose.”
“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” NASCAR president Steve Phelps said Thursday in a statement. “With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family. Because they are part of the NASCAR family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
At Talladega last weekend, people in vehicles lined the road outside the speedway displaying the Confederate flag and a plane flew over the track pulling a Confederate flag and a banner with the message “Defund NASCAR.”
That was the atmosphere when one of Wallace’s team members discovered the noose. Wallace told ESPN on Wednesday that a crew member checked the other garage stalls and none of them had a pull rope tied in that manner. In a powerful show of support before Monday’s race, a large crowd of NASCAR drivers and crew members walked alongside and behind Wallace in his No. 43 car.
After the FBI determined Tuesday that a federal crime had not been committed, NASCAR officials said in a statement that the item in question was a “garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose”.
There are still a lot of unanswered questions over the incident, for instance, why was a garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose? And why had it gone unnoticed, or at least unreported, until now?
One thing can no longer be questioned though.
“It was a noose,” Wallace told CNN on Tuesday. “Whether it was tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. It wasn’t directed at me, but someone tied a noose. It is a noose.”