TALLADEGA, Ala. (WSFA) - An investigation opened by the FBI after an apparent noose was found in the garage of NASCAR’s only black, full-time race car driver has determined no federal crimes were committed.
Tuesday, the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama released a joint statement on the investigation’s findings and NASCAR released a statement afterward.
The FBI found that the noose had been in place since at least October of last year. It was found in the garage of No. 43 car driver Bubba Wallace, who successfully convinced NASCAR in recent days to ban the Confederate flag at race events.
The connection was initially believed to be a possible hate crime and the FBI sent 15 special agents to investigate on Monday, the day after it was discovered before Sunday’s race at the Talladega Superspeedway.
FBI agents also determined that the garage had been assigned to Wallace in the last week and that no one would have known it was his garage during that time frame.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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.”
NASCAR thanked the FBI for its “quick and thorough investigation” and said it was “thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
Gov. Kay Ivey, who condemned the incident after learning of the situation reacted to Tuesday’s determination saying that she appreciates the quick action. But her office added that she ”stands by her statement that there is no place for acts of racism and hatred in our state” and that she “remains committed to continuing these important discussions on improvements to race relations and ensuring that Alabama is welcoming and inclusive to all.”