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NASCAR Cup Series driver Bubba Wallace has called it quits after three seasons as a driver for Richard Petty Motorsports.

Wallace, 26, enjoyed his best season with one top 5 result and five top-ten finishes. He finished second in the 2018 Daytona 500, and 2nd at last year's Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Speedway.

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The mixed-race driver was known more for his Black Lives Matter activism than for his achievements on the track. Wallace, pictured above with Richard Petty, explained his decision in a statement.

"This was not an easy decision as I have nothing but the utmost respect for Richard Petty and his family," Wallace wrote. "But I believe it's time for someone else to take over the reins of the No. 43."

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Wallace is best known for the "noose scandal" that rocked NASCAR in June. The FBI sent 15 agents to Talladega Superspeedway to investigate Wallace's "noose" that turned out to be a garage door pull.

Conservative talk radio host Wayne Dupree called Wallace "the Colin Kaepernick of NASCAR."

"...it was the "noose scandal" that put things over the top – and not even the circus-like outcome of that whole fiasco, but Bubba's rude and nasty attitude towards fans that was really cinched his place as the NASCAR villain. He even got booed on the track – well deserved, to be honest."

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Baseball Hall of Famer Curt Shilling deleted his Twitter on Wednesday after comparing NASCAR driver Darrell "Bubba" Wallace Jr. to disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.

A crew member found what he said was a noose hanging in the garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

The "noose" was actually a garage door pull cord. Similar pull cords were hanging at every door in the Talladega garage.

NASCAR officials announced the finding of the "noose" to the public and called in the FBI, who sent 15 agents to Alabama to investigate the pull cord.

The FBI concluded there was no hate crime. The pull cord was in place in the garage since October 2019.

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In a tweet on Wednesday, the former Boston Red Sox pitcher compared Wallace, 26, to 38-year-old Smollett, who was indicted in 2019 for staging a hate crime attack on himself.

"So we have @JussieSmollett v 2.0? Where is the media recanting their idiocy? Shilling tweeted. "It was all a lie."

This isn't the first time Shilling made a controversial statement on social media. He was fired by ESPN in 2016 for sharing an anti-transgender meme on his Facebook page.

Wallace thanked NASCAR and his team on Wednesday afternoon.

"It's been an emotional few days. First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was. I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat. I think we'll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been. Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not distract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we've made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all."

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Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only Black or biracial driver, continues to insist he was a victim of a racist incident at Talladega.

A crew member found what he says was a noose hanging in the garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.

The crew member and NASCAR officials apparently didn't notice that the same type of rope with a loop at the end was appended to all garage doors.

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Instead of investigating the matter thoroughly, NASCAR officials announced the finding to the public and called in the FBI, who sent 15 agents to Alabama to investigate the pull cord.

The agents collected the evidence -- the pull cord -- and sent it to Quantico, Virginia for analyses. They interviewed dozens of drivers and crew members and reached the conclusion that no hate crime was committed.

The pull cord, they say, was in place in the garage since October 2019. And no one could have known that Wallace would be assigned that same garage bay in June 2020.

The FBI also found similar pull cords with hand loops at every garage door. This image from a 2017 video shows the pull cords.

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NASCAR

Despite the FBI's conclusion, Wallace, 26, continues to insist the pull cord was a "straight up noose".

Wallace told NBC's TODAY on Wednesday that he was "relieved" he wasn't targeted, but he claimed someone tied the rope into a “noose" -- even if it was targeted at him.

"I've never seen anything like it," Wallace said, confirming that he did indeed see the pull cord.

Wallace said after he learned about the rope, he was "adamant" that he searched the garages to make sure it wasn't a pull rope.

"When I did find out, I was adamant about searching all the other garages and making sure that this wasn't a garage pull, and it ended up being one," he told NBC.

But even after admitting it was a pull rope, Wallace told "The View" on Tuesday that the rope was meant as a racist symbol.

Wallace became the laughing stock of NASCAR on Tuesday. Social media has dubbed him "Bubba Smollett" after disgraced actor Jussie Smollett who pulled a similar hate crime stunt in Chicago that ended his career.

"It's still frustrating to know that people are always going to test you and always just gonna try and debunk you," Wallace told NBC. "That's what I'm trying to wrap my head around now, from them saying that I'm fake and all this stuff, and I reported it when it was news that was brought to me, it was information that was brought to me that was already reported. So I was just kind of following suit."

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Bubba Wallace's girlfriend, Amanda Carter, wrote an Instagram post thanking NASCAR fans for their support after a "noose" was found in Wallace's garage bay at Talladega on Sunday.

Carter also urged white people - including herself - to examine their prejudices.

"We must continue the conversation, no one is exempt from taking a look at themselves," wrote Carter, who has dated Wallace for 2 years. "The fact I date a black man does not exempt me."

Carter's post included the hashtag #blacklivesmatter.

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The "noose" turned out to be a garage door pull-down rope that can be seen in photos and videos of the same garage #4 as far back as 2017 (see video below).

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The same pull-down rope is seen in this video image from Nov. 2019. The loop at the end of the rope at garage bay #4 - the garage assigned to Wallace's team -- shows the loop is cut off and the rope is shorter than it was in 2019.

The video tour below of the Talladega garage shows ropes with hand loops hanging at every garage door.

Even though bloggers have provided incontrovertible proof that similar ropes with loops on the end are hanging at all NASCAR garage doors, Wallace and NASCAR officials continue to insist Wallace is the victim of racism.

In an appearance on The View on Tuesday, Wallace, who is the only Black or biracial driver in NASCAR, confirmed he spoke with the FBI about the alleged hate crime.

He called doubters who believe the noose story is a PR stunt "simple-minded people" who are "afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for... instead of trying to listen and understand what's going on."
 

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There's a reason why NASCAR didn't provide any photos or videos of the "noose" found hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega on Sunday.

Wallace, a 26-year-old, clean-cut, biracial driver from Alabama, was reportedly targeted by a racist who objected to his demand that all Confederate flags be banned from NASCAR events.

As a driver, Wallace has not won a race in 220 attempts. But his Black Lives Matter activism thrust him into the headlines.

On Monday, it was announced that a noose was found hanging in Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Sunday.

LeBron James and Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton were among those expressing their outrage.

The "noose" turned out to be a garage door pull-down rope. All NASCAR garage doors have them.

Many are asking why NASCAR made the announcement before doing any investigating.

Look no further than the empty stands for the answer.

The stands have been empty for years -- ever since NASCAR changed its own rules to make every stock car driver equal.

At Monday's Talladega race, there were more drivers and crew members than people in the stands. NASCAR reportedly paints the seats multi colors to simulate fans in the stands at every race (see below).

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The auto racing company lost big money sponsors as a result of the lack of fan support.

When Wallace painted his car with the Black Lives Matter insignia at a racing event last month, his car was unsponsored.

Wallace lost his only sponsor -- Blue-Emu muscle pain cream -- when he threw a "rage-quitting" tantrum midstream during an eNASCAR virtual iRacing series in April.

"That's it. That's why I don't take this shit serious," Wallace said before disconnecting in anger.

Afterwards, Wallace took to Twitter to laugh at the fan backlash to his rage-quitting.

That's when sponsor Blue-Emu tweeted, "[Good to know] where you stand. Bye bye Bubba. We're interested in drivers, not quitters."

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The Internet is comparing NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace to disgraced actor Jussie Smollett.

Smollett, 38, is best known for allegedly orchestrating a hate crime hoax against himself in Chicago in 2019.

The FBI is investigating a racist incident in Wallace's team garage at Talladega. A noose was found hanging in the stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on Sunday.

The noose was observed by a Wallace team member who works on his cars. Wallace reportedly did not see the noose.

A plethora of surveillance cameras monitor the NASCAR garage where millions of dollars worth of race cars and expensive tools are kept.

NASCAR drivers are not allowed to enter the garage before races. They must go directly from their trailers to their cars before the start of the race.

But that didn't stop rumormongers on the internet from accusing the 26-year-old Alabama native of making up the noose story.

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Wallace is the only full-time Black or biracial driver in NASCAR's elite Cup Series. He drives for team owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty.

Petty supported Wallace at the track on Monday. Petty, 82, hasn't been seen at a NASCAR race since before the coronavirus pandemic.

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Drivers joined together to push Wallace's #43 Victory Junction Chevrolet along pit road to the front of the the Geico 500 field before the start of the race on Monday.

NASCAR also painted "#IStandwith Bubba" on the infield at the Talladega Superspeedway.

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LeBron James was among the athletes who voiced their outrage over the news that someone hung a noose in the garage stall of NASCAR's Bubba Wallace.

The incident happened at the Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama on Sunday. The noose was observed by a team member. Wallace did not see the noose.

"Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother!" James tweeted on Monday. "Know you don't stand alone! I'm right here with you as well as every other athlete. I just want to continue to say how proud I am of you for continuing to take a stand for change here in America and sports! @NASCAR I salute you as well!"

NASCAR said it launched an immediate investigation and will do everything possible to find the perpetrator and "eliminate them from the sport."

NASCAR previously announced the Confederate flag would no longer fly at any of its events or racetracks after Wallace complained about them.

The decision angered redneck drivers who proudly cling to their Confederate flags and tins of chewing tobacco.

On Monday, Wallace tweeted: "Today's 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 added: "As my mother told me today, 'They are just trying to scare you.' This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in."

Wallace is the only full-time Black or biracial driver in NASCAR's elite Cup Series.

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Bubba Wallace is praising NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag from its events and tracks after he complained about the flag's symbolism.

"I'm very gracious to have an elite group of drivers who are willing to stand up for what's right," said Wallace of his fellow drivers who supported NASCAR's ban of the controversial flag.

The 26-year-old told ABC's Good Morning America on Thursday morning that now is "the most crucial time" to "come together and really try to be more inclusive."

Wallace, who is the only Black, full-time NASCAR driver, said the flag caused "no good."

But one driver didn't support NASCAR's decision.

Ray Ciccarelli, a part-time NASCAR truck driver, said he is quitting NASCAR. Ciccarelli wrote on Facebook, "if this is the direction Nascar is headed we will not participate after 2020 season is over."

He continued:

"i don't believe in kneeling during Anthem nor taken ppl right to fly what ever flag they love. I could care less about the Confederate Flag but there are ppl that do and it doesn't make them a racist all you are doing is f---ing one group to cater to another and i ain't spend the money we are to participate in any political BS!!"

Akon Ventures into NASCAR Racing

Musician Akon's interest in cars has prompted him to form Akon Motor Sports during the 2013 NASCAR season. Akon has signed renowned race car driver Joe Henderson III to lead his Akon Motor Sports team, with Henderson competing in the NASCAR PRO SERIES EAST race at Langley Speedway in VA. On June 22nd.

“I got into motor sports because I've always had a love for cars," said Akon in a press release. Cars were always something that gave me that excitement and that rush for life," he added. "That was what really motivated me to get into motor sports."

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