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NASCAR photo shows what Bubba Wallace has been saying: ‘It’s a straight-up noose’

Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway last weekend
The FBI determined that no hate crime had been committed after a noose was found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama last weekend.
(John Bazemore / Associated Press)

NASCAR has released a photo of the rope tied like a noose that was found hanging in the Talladega garage stall used last weekend by Bubba Wallace, the Cup Series’ only full-time Black driver.

The FBI investigated the incident and determined that a hate crime had not been committed against Wallace, since the rope had been knotted in such a fashion and been in the garage since at least last fall.

Nonetheless, the photo that came out Thursday depicts what Wallace said in an interview earlier this week.

“It’s a straight-up noose.”

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“As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said Thursday during a teleconference. “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.”

Earlier this month, Wallace urged NASCAR to ban Confederate flags at its events in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. A day later, the ban was in place. At Talladega last weekend, people in vehicles lined the road outside the speedway displaying the Confederate flag and a plane flew over the track pulling a Confederate flag and a banner with the message “Defund NASCAR.”

That was the atmosphere when one of Wallace’s team members discovered the garage door pull rope fashioned into a noose.

NASCAR responded to a noose in Bubba Wallace’s garage with a show of support for its only Black driver, but its fight remains with the Confederate flag, columnist LZ Granderson writes.

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After the noose was discovered, NASCAR had all 29 tracks inspect the pull ropes in each of their 1,684 garage stalls. Only 11 of those ropes had knots in them and only one — the one in the stall assigned to Wallace based on Cup standings going into the race — was fashioned as a noose.

NASCAR has concluded its internal investigation into the matter, even though there seem to be some unanswered questions. For instance, why was a garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose? And why had it gone unnoticed, or at least unreported, until now?

“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.”


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