A noose that was found hanging in Black stock car racer Bubba Wallace’s garage stall was a pull rope placed there in October, the FBI announced Tuesday.
Review of security video following the discovery of the noose at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama showed the noose had actually been put up nearly eight months ago, according to a joint statement from the U.S. attorney’s office and the FBI. Wallace was assigned the garage stall last week, which “nobody could have known” in 2019, the statement said.
“On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway,” the statement said. “After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.”
Photographic evidence showed a garage door pull rope was fashioned like a noose and had been positioned there since as early as last fall, NASCAR confirmed in a statement Tuesday.
“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment,” NASCAR said. “We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
The league vowed it would find whoever was responsible after the noose was found Sunday in Wallace’s garage stall, less than two weeks after the league banned Confederate flags on its properties and at its events.
“We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR said in a statement Sunday. “We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
Wallace, who pushed for the league to ban the Confederate flag, said in a statement following the noose’s discovery that it would not deter him and that he will not back down from voicing his beliefs.
“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” he said.
NASCAR drivers stood behind Wallace on Monday as he drove onto the Geico 500 track at Talladega, presenting a united front against racism and in support of Wallace.
A representative for Wallace did not immediately respond to an NBC News request for comment.