UPDATE: FBI states noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall was there since October 2019
UPDATE — 5:15 p.m. ET: The FBI has announced the findings of its investigation into the discovery of a noose in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace at Talladega on Sunday night.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 23, 2020
“The FBI 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.”
NASCAR also issued a statement following the FBI’s announcement.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 23, 2020
“We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”
In a teleconference on Tuesday, NASCAR President Steve Phelps stated the 43 team had nothing to do with the incident, and that NASCAR is still investigating.
"The No. 43 team had nothing to do with this." NASCAR President Steve Phelps with more details on the results of the FBI's investigation from Talladega. pic.twitter.com/msk3iGjVul
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 23, 2020
Then, later this afternoon, Richard Petty Motorsports released its own statement.
— Richard Petty Motorsports (@RPMotorsports) June 23, 2020
Phelps said NASCAR it is still investigating how the garage pull rope was made to look like a noose. NASCAR checked every other garage stall and none had been shaped like a noose.
“The last race we had had there in October, that noose was present, and the fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact,” Phelps said. “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.”
Phelps said he felt calling the FBI was justified.
“To be clear, we would do this again,” he said. “Of the evidence that we had, it was clear that we needed to look into this.”
The noose was originally found late Sunday afternoon. That evening, NASCAR issued a statement announcing an investigation.
— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) June 22, 2020
Monday evening, the NASCAR Race Hub crew reacted to the results of the FBI’s investigation:
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 23, 2020
NASCAR confirmed Monday morning that a member of the Richard Petty Motorsports team found the noose in Wallace’s garage stall.
Wallace has been a leader in advocating for NASCAR to take a bigger role against racism and for NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag, which it did on June 10.
After the FBI’s investigation was concluded, the NASCAR world and the sports world began to express relief via social media, as well as their continued support for Wallace, including his crew member, Freddie Kraft.
Relieved to know this was a huge misunderstanding, and there is no one in our garage area that did something like what most people originally thought happened. Doesn’t change a thing about the amazing sights we saw yesterday. Hopefully we continue to move forward from here.
— Freddie Kraft (@FreddieKraft) June 23, 2020
I’m relieved to hear this wasn’t a hate crime and I’m still so proud of how our sport came together yesterday. https://t.co/I2KzARnonx
— Jimmie Johnson (@JimmieJohnson) June 24, 2020
Finally some good news pic.twitter.com/kbv2i5ksPN
— Tony Stewart (@TonyStewart) June 23, 2020
The best news possible came from the FBI investigation, and I am so happy for @BubbaWallace & @NASCAR that there was no hate crime, or any ill will.
That is wonderful.
Sunday & Monday I defended the sport passionately that it is not a racist arena.
I'm glad that proved accurate.
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 23, 2020
Best possible outcome — was not a hate crime AND @NASCAR used all of their resources and took it seriously. But what a tough 48hrs for @bubbawallace — I hope he was in some way comforted by the outpouring of love and support.
— Elle Duncan (@elleduncanESPN) June 23, 2020
Man I absolutely hate what happened with @nascar. Doesn’t change the fact that @BubbaWallace :
-didn’t ask for this attention
-handled all of it with class and dignity
-will now receive totally unjustified hate thrown his way
-needs love and support more than ever
— Danny Kanell (@dannykanell) June 23, 2020
This is a developing story.