NASCAR released a photo of the noose found in driver Bubba Wallace’s garage at the Talladega Superspeedway, saying it was put there in October 2019. The organization was unable to determine who “tied the rope in this manner and why it was done.”
11 garage pull ropes of 1,684 searched were tied into knots like the one in Bubba Wallace’s garage.
NASCAR released a photo of the noose found in driver Bubba Wallace's garage at the Talladega Superspeedway, saying it was put there in October 2019.
The organization was unable to determine who "tied the rope in this manner and why it was done."https://t.co/bzwfxodDk9
— NPR (@NPR) June 25, 2020
NASCAR President Steve Phelps detailed Thursday afternoon via teleconference findings from NASCAR’s internal investigation, which has concluded, into the noose found in the garage stall of No. 43 driver Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend.
A photo of the noose was released by the sanctioning body earlier Thursday, one day after an FBI investigation concluded no federal hate crime was committed against Wallace, who is Black, and the noose had been on the garage door at Talladega since October 2019.
Phelps also detailed both the timeline of events from discovery through the completion of the investigation — scroll to the bottom of this story for the full timeline — and NASCAR’s next steps moving forward.
“Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver,” Phelps said. “We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement.
“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family. Because they are part of the NASCAR family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
Phelps outlined specific steps NASCAR would take moving forward. It includes sensitivity and unconscious bias training for all members of the industry, additional, thorough sweeps through the garage areas and installation of additional cameras in all garages.
“Our ultimate conclusion for this investigation is to ensure that this never happens again, that no one walks by a noose without recognizing the potential damage it can do,” Phelps said. “Going forward, our efforts are best spent on making sure every competitor feels safe and every guest feels welcome. I would also like to reinforce that what we did see at Talladega in pre-race on Monday, our drivers, crews and officials proudly demonstrated that we are united in the belief that there is no place for racism in our sport.”
After Sunday’s discovery, NASCAR officials asked each track to sweep through respective garages. Across the 1,684 garage stalls at 29 tracks, NASCAR found only 11 total had a pull-down rope tied in a knot and only one noose — the one discovered Sunday in the No. 43 garage stall.
Wallace has become more outspoken in recent weeks as he has championed causes to fight racial injustice. Other drivers in the NASCAR garage have rallied behind his message and showed their support Monday before the GEICO 500 at Talladega.
“Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps reiterated Thursday. ” … I want to thank Bubba Wallace and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports. Specifically, I want to thank Bubba for his leadership over this past three weeks. Bubba has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity and he stood tall for what he believes in. And we all need to stand with him. I know I’m going to.”