NASCAR has completed its investigation of the apparent noose found in Bubba Wallace garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday and confirmed it was a noose. Steve Phelps, the president of NASCAR, spoke to reporters on Thursday and announced that Wallace's garage was the only one that had a noose tied at the end of the pull-down rope. NASCAR took a look at 1,684 garage stalls, and only 11 had garage pulls with knots tied at the end.
"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 via 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." Phelps also said NASCAR would conduct additional sweeps of garage areas, and more cameras will be installed all garages.
The FBI was involved in the investigation and concluded Wallace, NASCAR's only full-time black driver, was not a victim of a hate crime. Wallace never saw the noose because he was not allowed to go in the garage due to COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Phelps said he's not sure who made the noose or why it was made. At that time, Wood Brothers Racing used the garage stall but never reported the noose. Phelps said Wallace's team reported the noose to NASCAR 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Phelps told Wallace the news after learning about the noose.
"Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver," Phelps added. "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, that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace." When the FBI announced Wallace was not targeted with the noose, fans took aim at him for setting the whole thing up. However, Wallace is happy with the outcome and convinced a noose was in his garage.
"Integrity..something nobody will ever be able to take away from me," Wallace wrote on Twitter. "God will always test us to show how strong we truly are. Still standing proud and still smiling."