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.
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.
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.”