ALABAMA – Law enforcement officials in Alabama have concluded their investigation into the rope found at the Talladega Superspeedway on Tuesday, and have determined that it was not a noose that was found in the garage recently assigned to Bubba Wallace — the lone full-time Black NASCAR driver.
Wallace is in his third season driving for Richard Petty Motorsports, one of 13 teams in the Race Team Alliance, which was founded in 2014 to address issues of common interest, provide a point of contact for those who wish to engage with the teams collectively and a vehicle through which the teams can speak with a single, common voice, according to RTA’s website.
No RTA representative was available for a statement because of the COVID-19 crisis.
“On Sunday, June 21, members of Richard Petty Motorsports discovered a rope tied in fashion of a noose in the garage stall assigned to the team at the Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway,” the statement said. “As a result of further investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), it was found that the item was not directed towards Wallace or members of the team. No member of Richard Petty Motorsports nor Wallace had any involvement with the presence of the rope.”
After the rope was found on Sunday, there were 15 federal agents assigned to the investigation, who through evidence, including authenticated video, determined the rope was a door pull that was left in Wallace’s newly assigned garage since October 2019, and therefore not a response to the driver’s work to have Confederate flags removed from NASCAR races.
“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” said a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. “The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”
The discovery of the rope, which was tied similarly to a noose, led many to show an outpouring of support for Wallace on Monday.
Crewmembers and drivers from all 43 teams, including rivals of Wallace, walked behind him and pushed his car to the starting line in a show of solidarity of what they believed at the time to be a racist attack.
This came on the heels of a plane flying a Confederate flag over the speedway as drivers were lined up near the speedway with the Confederate flag poking out of their vehicles too on Sunday, after the driving association agreed with Wallace that the symbol should be banned from events.
“It’s been an emotional few days,” said Wallace in a statement. “I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn’t what we feared it was. I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat…make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we’ve made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all.”