The FBI is saying today that the noose found in a garage assigned to NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday had actually been there since last October.
“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.”
This was a statement from U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. on Tuesday, which laid out the results of an investigation into the incident, which inflamed an already tense situation surrounding the NASCAR race at Talladega over the weekend.
NASCAR announced on June 10 that it was banning the display of Confederate flag at its tracks and facilities effective immediately, angering a vocal minority of fans.
The race weekend at Talladega was marred by displays of Confederate flags on roads in the area of the speedway, and a plane flying above that toted a Confederate flag and a sign reading “Defund NASCAR.”
The news about a noose being found in the garage assigned to Wallace, the series’ only African-American driver, broke late Sunday night, after the scheduled race had been postponed a day due to rain.
When the race finally got under way on Monday, the Cup Series’ other drivers pushed Wallace’s car to the front of the starting grid before the playing of the national anthem in a show of solidarity.
Wallace was running near the front of the pack into the final laps before issues with fuel mileage relegated him to a 14th-place finish.
The investigation into the noose, according to the joint statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office and the FBI, revealed that the noose, which had apparently been fashioned from a pull rope, had been on a garage door in garage number 4 at Talladega since as early as October 2019, based on a review of video footage.
NASCAR confirmed this in a statement released Tuesday.
“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.”
On the issue of the garage assignment: the statement from the U.S. Attorney and FBI offers the observation that “(n)obody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week,” and it’s here that it seems the decision not to continue the investigation is based.
It does seem to stand to reason that if the noose had been there since October, maybe somebody among the somebodies assigning the garages … did know, or at least could have, or should have.
More clarity there would be helpful.
No charges will be filed in the case, according to the joint statement.
Story by Chris Graham