NASCAR released an image of the garage pull found in African-American driver Bubba Wallace’s Talladega garage after investigators determined that there was no hate crime involved. The rope, which was tied as a noose, had been there since at least October 2019, before Wallace took the garage, the FBI concluded. Wallace, appearing on CNN Tuesday evening, said he had never seen a garage pull tied in that manner. Several people on social media have accused Wallace of faking the incident but Wallace said he did not see the noose or file the report.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps said Thursday that the organization should have included the word “alleged” when they first put out a statement on the “heinous act” but it was the only rope fashioned that way and NASCAR was genuinely concerned for Wallace’s safety. NASCAR checked all 29 tracks where they race, and 1,684 garage stalls, and found only 11 pulldown ropes tied in a knot, and just one tied as a noose—the one in Wallace’s garage. Phelps said it was now apparent that the noose had been there for a while but no one reacted negatively to it, which was troubling. “We pointed towards an alleged hate crime. For it to be coincidental, it’s difficult,” he reportedly said.
Phelps said Wallace had been subjected to a lot of hate since speaking out on the Black Lives Matter movement, and NASCAR had upped their security for him. “He’s done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity,” Phelps said.