NASCAR held a news conference Thursday on the internal investigation of the rope that was found in race car driver Bubba Wallace’s garage stall, and tied in the configuration of a noose.
The FBI concluded that no hate crime was committed at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama where the rope turned up. But Steve Phelps, president of NASCAR, now admits the rope was tied into a noose.
“As you can see from the photo,” Phelps said, “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 … We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”
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NASCAR just released a photo of the garage pull rope that was fashioned into a noose at Talladega. pic.twitter.com/gRAUAJoYv2
— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 25, 2020
Phelps defended NASCAR’s investigation of the incident, which resulted in a sweep of every garage stall at 29 different race tracks.
“Given the facts presented to us, we would have pursued this with the same sense of urgency and purpose,” Phelps said during the news conference. “Upon learning of seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver. 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.”
“We could not determine whether it was someone on their team or someone else,” Phelps continued. “We have no idea what the intent was at all, whether there was any malice in it or whether it was just fashioned as a noose for a pulley. We don’t know that.”
As Urban Hollywood 411 previously reported, the FBI’s findings were announced on Tuesday and found that the rope had been in the stall since 2019. Since then, Wallace has spoken out and publicly expressed his anger over attacks on his character and suggestions that the rope was part of a hoax.
During a Tuesday appearance on CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, Wallace said he was “pissed” about people questioning his character.
“I’m mad because people were trying to test my character and the person I am,” he said. “They’re not stealing that from me but they’re trying to test that.”