NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace said Tuesday night, he has never seen anything like what he described as a “straight-up noose” that was being used as a door pull in the garage he was assigned last week at Talladega Speedway in Alabama.
The noose in question has been investigated by the FBI and found to be a knotted rope for pulled on a door that pre-dates Wallace’s use of that specific garage by about one year. It was not indicative of a hate crime or message to Wallace in any form.
The FBI in a statement Tuesday said it has “learned that garage number 4, 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 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019.
“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” the bureau concluded.
“I’ve been racing all of my life,” Wallace told CNN‘s Don Lemon.
“We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. So people that want to call it a garage pull and put out all the videos and photos of knots being as their evidence, go ahead, but from the evidence that we have – and I have – it’s a straight-up noose.”
Wallace admits that he hadn’t seen the noose himself, but had seen photos of it.
“It wasn’t directed at me,” Wallace added, “but it was a noose.”
Wallace told Lemon he found out about the noose’s presence in his garage Sunday, when NASCAR President Steve Phelps told him about it.
“It doesn’t matter if we provide evidence, photos,” the NASCAR driver said. “It will always be photoshopped. I will always have haters.”
Prior to the FBI’s findings, fellow NASCAR drivers participated Monday in a show of support for Wallace, a 26-year-old native of Alabama who is the only African-American full-time driver on the NASCAR circuit.
Video of that moment is below.
“I’ve been racing all of my life, we’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. … It’s a straight up noose.”
Bubba Wallace to Don Lemon. pic.twitter.com/HnJYpbPrlZ
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) June 24, 2020