(Gray News) - NASCAR released an image Thursday of the noose-like rope that caused an FBI investigation when it was discovered in the garage of the lone Black driver on the circuit.
The photo was made public one day after an FBI investigation concluded no federal hate crime was committed against Bubba Wallace. NASCAR President Steve Phelps says the photo was taken by NASCAR security.
“Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver,” Phelps said in a news conference. “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. As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family.”
Federal investigators said the rope had been hanging at the Alabama track since at least October.
Video evidence showed it had been hanging from the garage door but was the only one fashioned as a noose. Wallace coincidentally was assigned that garage.
NASCAR stood by its decision to investigate the discovery. Phelps says NASCAR has not determined who tied the rope and its investigation is over.
He says more cameras will be added to garages.
Wallace successfully called for a ban of the Confederate flag and has become an activist for the sport during a push for racial equality.
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