On Saturday night, news broke that a noose had been found at the Talladega Superspeedway in the garage of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR’s only Black full-time driver. On Monday, the FBI began an investigation to see whether or not Wallace was the victim of a hate crime, according to ESPN. By Tuesday, an incredibly brisk turn around for an investigation, the FBI reported that no hate crime had been committed against Wallace as the rope found was simply a garage door pull “fashioned like a noose.” The noose that wasn’t a noose had reportedly been in that garage since October, according to the FBI, prior to Wallace’s team being assigned that specific garage. The rope, again tied like a noose, was simply tied that way accidentally and a Black driver was coincidentally given that specific garage. But no crime was committed, according to the FBI who was able to finally admit that the “garage pull” was, in fact, a noose.
On Thursday afternoon NASCAR released a photo of the “garage pull” in question:
As part of the investigation, the FBI inspected every single garage at the Superspeedway and found that the noose style of tying was only used at the garage Wallace’s team was using. After it was discovered that the noose was not a hateful noose but just a casual noose, Wallace was attacked on Twitter for stirring up what some race fans described as a “hoax.” Others tried to justify that the rope was simply tied in that fashion because that’s how garage door pulls work and trying to claim that the noose was a noose was a sign of ignorance about nooses. ESPN also reports that there was a viral conspiracy that alleged Wallace was in on the hoax from the beginning.
Since the garage pull/noose was allegedly not directed at Wallace, the FBI cannot conclude that a hate crime took place. NASCAR says they will continue to investigate how in a diverse and accepting sport that banned the Confederate Flag a solid 20 minutes ago, a noose could possibly make its way onto a speedway, into the garage of the only Black driver, and go unnoticed for eight months. “I’ve been racing since I was 9 years old; I’m 26 now, I’ll be 27 this year, and I’ve never seen a garage pull like that,” Wallace said during an interview on First Take.