The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing released a statement on Tuesday, informing fans that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had completed their investigation into the alleged racial incident involving racecar driver Bubba Wallace. According to the FBI, the driver wasn’t the target of a racist event, rather the rope found in his garage was part of its standard equipment
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR’s statement read.
The racing organization’s statement went on to assure fans that the rope originally believed to be fashioned into a noose was nothing of the kind and that it was in the garage well before it was allocated for use by Wallace.
“The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. “
NASCAR also offered their thanks to the FBI and to all the drivers and crews who supported their mission of making sure everyone involved in their organization feels safe, regardless of race.
“This was obviously well before the 43 teams’ arrival and garage assignment. 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.”
Wallace, who is currently NASCAR’s only full-time Black racer, became the subject of many headlines when he led the charge to have the Confederate flag removed from NASCAR racing events. That move was met with harsh criticism by many who claimed the flag was part of fans’ heritage.
The push for changes across many professional sports franchises was kicked off by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died while in police custody in late May. Floyd’s death caused heightened racial tensions along with demonstrations that, in some cases, devolved into riots.
Questions about police reform as well as policy updates on the part of businesses and individuals have sparked changes in both the private and public sectors in an effort to stamp out the racism still found in the United States.
Wallace’s competitors took those changes seriously when they believed their fellow driver was the victim of an attack, even going so far as to physically rally around the driver on his way to the track on Monday.