UPDATE, 6/24/2020, 16:37EST:
On Sunday, June 21, a noose was found by NASCAR officials hanging in the garage stall of NASCAR racer Bubba Wallace at the Talladega Super Speedway in Alabama. The racer had not seen the noose until NASCAR brought it to his attention.
A member of the No. 43 team found the noose, reported it to NASCAR security who then took it to NASCAR president Steve Phelps and his executive team. They then informed Wallace and then the press and public.
The FBI determined the incident was not a hate crime as it was not directed at Wallace specifically. However they did cite it may be a civil rights violation.
While they determined the Alabama raceway had a noose in their garage area as early as October 2019, they are not standard at other racetracks or even at Talladega. Every garage pulldown was examined by the FBI and NASCAR officials and only one was fashioned into a noose.
NASCAR is continuing their investigation to determine who tied the noose and why.
A NASCAR official told ESPN.com:
“There a lot of ways to tie a rope. This was unquestionably a noose. So, why?”
After NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace—of the Petty Racing Team—called for Confederate flags to be completely banned from NASCAR races, a noose was found in his garage stall less than two weeks later.
NASCAR did indeed ban all Confederate flags from races.
Many are saying that is why the only Black driver currently in NASCAR’s Cup Series was on the receiving end of a “despicable act of racism.”
Wallace shared his thoughts on Twitter after the incident.
NASCAR also condemned the act, saying:
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act.”
“We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport.”
“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”
Others joined in condemning the hanging of the noose.
@BubbaWallace our Coca-Cola family stands with you. We share your outrage and heartbreak over this horrific act of racism, which has no place in our world. We will continue to support you and @NASCAR in working to end systemic racism and achieve equality. Together, we must.
— Coca-Cola (@CocaCola) June 22, 2020
I’m so sorry to hear this. It’s not surprising and it reminds me of Jackie Robinson. 😫😫😫😡😡😡😡Stay strong. You have the wind at your back
— Holly Robinson Peete (@hollyrpeete) June 22, 2020
You just got a new fan here Tyler! We need more drivers to be vocal after this incident. We, the world, are watching 👀
— Roy SDR (@RoySDR) June 22, 2020
I’m so sorry, my friend. It’s disgusting what you and other people of color have to deal with. We’re going to get through this and make a change together. Believe that. #BlackLivesMatter
— 💻 Allen 📱 (@ForgedInRacing) June 22, 2020
— JacobTheO’rangersFan #BLM (@ordinaryjacob32) June 22, 2020
NASCAR and the FBI have launched an investigation into the incident.
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey also condemned the act:
“I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against Bubba Wallace in Talladega -there is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state.”
“Racism and threats of this nature will not be condoned nor tolerated, and I commit to assisting in any way possible to ensure that the person responsible for this is caught and punished.”
“While the important conversation of racial reconciliation is ongoing all over our country, it is clear there is much work to do. Bubba Wallace is one of us; he is a native of Mobile and on behalf of all Alabamians, I apologize to Bubba Wallace as well as to his family and friends for the hurt this has caused and regret the mark this leaves on our state.”
“I ask the NASCAR family to rally around Bubba and his team as they compete today and I know that there are more people who are wishing him well today than ever before.”
Ivey, however, signed a bill into law in 2017 preventing any Confederate monuments from being removed in the state of Alabama.
I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against @BubbaWallace in Talladega – there is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state. Full statement: https://t.co/wmwVCOFd4B pic.twitter.com/mcFXKUynRs
— Governor Kay Ivey (@GovernorKayIvey) June 22, 2020
#Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey, a Republican who in 2018 campaigned on her record of having protected Confederate monuments, said Monday that she was “shocked and appalled” by the episode, which she described as a “disgusting display of hatred.” https://t.co/tuVAUn35VY
— Gary Dunavant (@Garybham) June 23, 2020
Find the culprits. It is a hate crime.
— nancy Michael (@nancy90212628) June 22, 2020
Why don’t we start by removing the giant confederate flag on I-65
— Tango0070 (@tango0070) June 23, 2020
Empty words without meaningful action
— Ernie Brooks (@bigern4951) June 22, 2020
Wallace spoke after a race Monday evening on the Talladega Superspeedway.
"The sport is changing … Whoever it was, you're not gonna take away my smile."- @BubbaWallace
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 23, 2020
Surrounded by fans wearing various #BlackLivesMatter symbols of unity and backed by other NASCAR teams, Wallace said “…the deal that happened…I wanted to show whoever it was, you are not going to take away my smile.”
Wallace shared a selfie with his NASCAR colleagues and team members on Twitter including Petty Racing owner “King” Richard Petty. The NASCAR legend and owner of Wallace’s racing team came out to the race in solidarity with his driver.
NEWS: NASCAR industry sources tell me Richard Petty will attend today’s race at Talladega, to stand in solidarity w @BubbaWallace.
Petty, 82, has not attended a race since COVID-19 halt.
Sources told me Petty commented: “The most impt thing for me right now is hugging my driver.”
— Marty Smith (@MartySmithESPN) June 22, 2020
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
At Talladega — the Deep South bastion of a historically southern sport — its undisputed King, Richard Petty, lays his hands on Bubba Wallace in support of equality. It would be very difficult to overstate the symbolism of this moment. #NASCAR https://t.co/o7p0Outhap
— W.W. McClyde (@WWMcClyde) June 22, 2020
Powerful intro by NASCAR as an emotional Bubba Wallace is embraced by Richard Petty and other drivers pic.twitter.com/FejJfoncTk
— gifdsports (@gifdsports) June 22, 2020
These pictures may not seem like much, but they are iconic to me. I’m proud to have grown up in Southern Appalchia which is also a racing hotbed. You have no idea the impact that Richard Petty standing with Bubba Wallace can have in certain pockets of this country. pic.twitter.com/WQO3NFPXzS
— David Sisk (@CoachDavidSisk) June 22, 2020
While there is plenty of hate from self-proclaimed NASCAR fans in the comments on Wallace’s Twitter feed…
This has all gone too far. NASCAR And Bubba needed to stay in their lane. Bubba appears to looking for publicity. He has it and it will continue to Escalate. I don’t approve of it but it has been self inflicted.
— Nicholas (@Nichola48432425) June 22, 2020
Disappointing excuse for a race car driver turned political NASCAR sideshow!
— 🚨Virginia4KAG🚨 (@Virginia4KAG) June 22, 2020
I’m still trying to figure out why @NASCAR is even listening to you
You haven’t won a cup race you actually can barely finish in the top 10 yet you are now the face of racing & we’re just supposed to bow to you
— TheTruckinBassets🇺🇸🏳️🌈 (@TruckinBassets) June 22, 2020
You don't get to tell thousands of people they can't honor their heritage any more than they can prevent you from honoring yours. Politics don't belong in sports.
— Cranky Curmudgeon 🇺🇸🏴☠️ (@CrankyCur) June 22, 2020
How disgraceful no more NASCAR for me stay outta politics just race
— Steven Cohan (@hawkco119) June 23, 2020
Lol…u bought this on yourself! Deal with!
— Jimmy Dix (@possium2001) June 22, 2020
bye bye, NASCAR was about fun, the history of the south and legacy of the drivers running moonshine that turned into racing, Bill France Sr. is turning over in his grave at how NASCAR has fallen. You have lost a 32 year racing fan of Dale Earnhardt Sr and the Greats!
— Aj Baalman (@ABaalman3) June 22, 2020
This photo was taken at the nascar pre race tailgate…. notice all flags are confederate or trump related. The lone American flag still has a confederate flag sewn in. If this doesn’t show that these people don’t care about AMERICA and instead are gleefully racist. Idk what will pic.twitter.com/FTsueiAFo0
— DrewStarks (@drewdrewstarks) June 22, 2020
…there are old and new fans of NASCAR offering support.
Amazing to me the b.s. and hate he’s got from this, all the closet racists are coming out smh.
Btw here’s you something for your page that I made and have been sharing pic.twitter.com/WFQXvGPZjP
— Tim Sloan (@Timothy72470669) June 22, 2020
What Nascar loses in the way of racist fans, will easily be replaced with fans that previously steered clear because of that apparent racism. 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻
— Liberal Texan 🌊🌊🌊#Resist (@FREAKINWOKE) June 22, 2020
— Deb Nunnally (@dnunn15) June 22, 2020
I’m a new fan! 💙
— G III West (@geowest96) June 22, 2020
— FOX: NASCAR (@NASCARONFOX) June 22, 2020
NASCAR will be banning whomever is found responsible for hanging the noose in Wallace’s garage.