NASCAR Completes Investigation of Bubba Wallace’s Garage Stall

Credit: Courtney Horn for Skirts and Scuffs

NASCAR revealed its image of the noose that was found at the garage stall that was randomly assigned to Bubba Wallace over the weekend at Talladega SuperSpeedway.

NASCAR confirmed they did not find who placed it there or why. They stated that it was placed in garage stall No. 4 during, not before, the NASCAR Cup Series weekend when they raced there for the second and final time of the year in October 2019.

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

“I know we like to have complete resolution here and have all the answers. Based on all the video and photographic evidence and all the interviews, we were not able to determine who crafted the noose. I know that’s unfulfilling. I wish there was more we could do but we can’t, so we’ve drawn this matter to a close.”

The news comes one day after the FBI of Birmingham completed their investigation and announced that no federal hate crime was committed.

 “Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver,” Phelps said. “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 and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, I should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement."

NASCAR took additional steps in concluding that the garage pull-down rope found in Wallace’s stall was the only one that was fashioned as a noose.

Photo of noose hanging in the No. 43 stall at Talladega
Credit: NASCAR

Those steps included respective track officials searching through 1,684 garage stalls across 29 tracks. In their findings, 11 garage stalls in total had pull-down ropes tied with a knot. Only one however was tied as a noose, which was the one found in the No. 43 for Richard Petty Motorsports stall.

Phelps acknowledged the fact that emotions were running high over the weekend in Talladega due to their recent banning of the Confederate flag, which led to the events with the rapid response.

“It absolutely was a factor,” Phelps said. “I think being at the racetrack and someone’s ability to peaceful protest outside of our facility, we were all for. Have a guy flying over head in a crop duster with a Confederate flag saying defund NASCAR. Frankly … things that have led up to that, including the banning of the Confederate flag, something we were enforcing for the first time that weekend -- fortunately we didn’t see any incidents of the Confederate flag on property. Our fans respected that. It was a great first step.

"But yeah, were there heightened emotions? What has gone on in the past two and a half weeks in our country and in our sport, I think absolutely. It was emotionally charged for a lot of people, and I’ll include myself in that.”

Phelps also announced that they would activate steps going forward in hopes that this will not happen again. Those steps include thorough sweeps of the garage area, having additional security cameras installed in all NASCAR garages, while mandating all members of its industry complete sensitivity and unconscious bias training.

Phelps reiterated that Wallace and the No. 43 team had nothing to do with the incident and thanked him for his leadership and push for change within the industry.

Wallace has been outspoken on the need for change within NASCAR and the world since the killing of George Floyd. Wallace called for the need to ban the Confederate flag to be an inclusive league for all people.

“Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” Phelps said ” … I want to thank Bubba Wallace and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports. Specifically, I want to thank Bubba for his leadership over this past three weeks. Bubba has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity, and he stood tall for what he believes in. And we all need to stand with him. I know I’m going to.”

NASCAR Completes Investigation of Bubba Wallace’s Garage Stall NASCAR Completes Investigation of Bubba Wallace’s Garage Stall Reviewed by Courtney Horn on Thursday, June 25, 2020 Rating: 5