When NASCAR announced an investigation into the garage door rope pull in the shape of a noose, fans and fellow drivers alike rallied around Bubba Wallace, the only Black driver in the Cup Series. The FBI concluded its investigation and determined that there was no hate crime, but Wallace will still remember the fans. He sent them a heartfelt message on Twitter and said he would never forget the experience at the Geico 500.
Wallace tweeted out a photo on Friday, showing several fans in the stands at Talladega Superspeedway. They all wore "Black Lives Matter" shirts, matching Wallace's attire and paint scheme from an earlier race. Some of the fans held their fists in the air while others took photos to capture the moment. Wallace acknowledged the raw emotions of the moment, but he said he would never forget the support.
This hits hard for me. Ill never forget the chants, I’ll never forget this image! pic.twitter.com/x8nVLdvsWz— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 26, 2020
While the fans showed Wallace support with their attire and chants, the drivers and NASCAR crews alike did so with actions before the race. They gathered together and pushed Wallace's No. 43 Chevrolet to the front of the grid to show unity. They also gathered around him during the national anthem.
Following the investigation that determined the "noose" was actually a garage door pull, critics on social media have made comments about Wallace and NASCAR. Some said that this incident was an elaborate hoax while others said they "knew this was a scam" when they noticed the Black Lives Matter paint scheme on Wallace's car days before the investigation.
NASCAR President Steve Phelps spoke to reporters on Thursday and announced that Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway was the only one with a noose in the garage pull down rope. Officials examined 1,684 garage stalls and only found 11 with knots in the end. Of these 11, only one had a noose.
"It was surprising for our entire industry that we're trying to point towards solving for what we believe was — it was an alleged hate crime, right?" Phelps said, per Deadspin. "So that's what we were solving for. And then to have it be, hey, this is something that actually was coincidental, that's a very difficult thing to try to get to." Following this investigation, NASCAR officials will conduct additional sweeps of garages and install more cameras.