NASCAR has released a photo of the suspected ‘noose’ found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega on Sunday that at was investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime before being revealed to be an innocent garage door pull rope that had been in use for at least a year.
The picture shows a long rope fashioned into a loop, but with one end coiled around the knot, the image does have a striking resemblance to a noose.
The noose is, of course, a symbol of racism in souther states, such as Alabama, were Sunday’s race was scheduled to take place before it was delayed by rain.
Wallace, who did not discover the noose and wasn’t the person who reported it to NASCAR or the FBI, faced criticism for the misunderstanding on Wednesday, but described himself as ‘relieved’ that it was not intended as a racist threat.
‘I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been,’ he said in a statement.
Before the misunderstanding was revealed, all 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace at Monday’s restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began.
By Tuesday, an FBI investigation found that the item – which is described in a NASCAR statement as a ‘garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose’ – had been there since 2019, when a white driver was using that specific stall.
Wallace stressed that he remains thankful for the outpouring of support he received before Monday’s restart in Alabama, when his NASCAR rivals pushed his car to the front of the field in a show of solidarity.
‘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.’