FBI Confirms No Hate Crime Committed At Talladega

The FBI has confirmed that there was no hate crime committed at Talladega Superspeedawy over the weekend. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images Photo)
The FBI has confirmed that there was no hate crime committed at Talladega Superspeedawy over the weekend. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images Photo)

TALLADEGA, Ala. — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has confirmed that a hate crime did not take place over the weekend at Talladega Superspeedway.

In a statement from NASCAR, the sanctioning body revealed the FBI confirmed via photographic evidence that a garage door pull rope had been fashioned like a noose and had remained that way since at least last fall.

The garage where the rope was found was assigned to NASCAR’s only African American competitor, Bubba Wallace, and the Richard Petty Motorsports team.

“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR’s statement read. “The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment. We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”

A member of the Richard Petty Motorsports crew initially discovered what, at the time, was believed to be a noose in the team’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday afternoon.

The team remember reported it to a NASCAR official, which led to the FBI becoming involved to investigate if a crime had been committed on Monday morning.

“On Monday, 15 FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” read a joint statement from U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. “The FBI learned that garage No. 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage No. 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019.

“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage No. 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage No. 4 last week. The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”

Richard Petty Motorsports later released a statement, detailing its cooperation with the NASCAR and FBI investigation. That statement is below.