FBI determines Bubba Wallace 'not the target of a hate crime'

The FBI has determined that NASCAR driver Darrell “Bubba” Wallace was not the target of a hate crime and that a rope “fashioned like a noose” had been positioned in the garage stall he used for Monday's race for months, NASCAR said in a statement released Tuesday. 

“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR said in a statement, just two days after the racing circuit said a noose was found in Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. 

"The FBI report concludes and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there as early as last fall," the statement said.

“This was obviously well before the 43 team’s aerial 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.”

Wallace said Tuesday in an interview on ABC’s “The View” that the president of NASCAR had informed him Sunday about what NASCAR thought to be a noose found in his stall. 

“He called and wanted to come over and talk face to face, and he had told me what had happened, and tears was in his eyes ... He was so upset,” Wallace said. “I didn't know what to say or what to do. I have never, obviously, never had that happen, and not being able to see it directly I was just kind of thinking, trying to process it all.”

The investigation into what was thought to be a noose was launched just weeks after Wallace, the racing circuit’s only African American driver, emblazoned a “Black Lives Matter” message across his car after he successfully led a push for the organization to prohibit displays of the Confederate flag. 

NASCAR announced earlier this month it would ban displays of the Confederate flag at all of its events and properties.