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NASCAR announced that the “noose” found in the garage of driver Wallace Sunday was not a hate crime

PHOTO CREDITS: ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASCAR released the first official image Tuesday of the garage door pull-rope fashioned into a noose-like knot that was found in the garage of Bubba Wallace at the Talladega Superspeedway Sunday, and announced that an internal investigation determined that the knot was not a hate crime aimed at the organization’s only full-time African American driver. Wednesday, a day after the FBI’s probe came to the same verdict as NASCAR regarding the incident, Wallace tweeted out a statement saying that he’s “relieved” to know it wasn’t meant for him, but doubled down on the seriousness of the issue on CNN’s Don Lemon, saying “We’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that…it’s a straight-up noose.” ~

The internal investigation conducted by NASCAR found that of the 1,684 total garages at every venue the organization hosts races at, only 11 garage pull-ropes were tied into knots, and just one was tied in the style of a noose. However, the internal probe also found that the noose-style knot had been present in the garage since the October Cup Series weekend at Talladega last fall, which serves as sufficient evidence that the noose was not a hate crime directed at Wallace like originally perceived. The FBI’s hate crime probe of the incident likewise determined Tuesday that the noose had been tied at the end of the garage door pull-rope since October of 2019, when the Wood Brothers Racing team had the same garage stall, and was not directed at Wallace. According to the federal report, a WBR team member told the FBI that he “remembered seeing the knot on the team’s garage rope nine months ago,” (Yahoo Sports). ~

NASCAR President Steve Phelps apologized Thursday for not using the word “alleged” Monday when announcing the “heinous act” supposedly aimed at Wallace. The discovery Sunday sparked outrage in the sports world before investigations were conducted, just days after Wallace led the move by NASCAR to ban the Confederate flag at its events. Prior to the start of the GEICO 500 Monday, drivers and crew members offered a show of unified support for Wallce by pushing his No. 43 Chevrolet to the front of the grid during pre-race activities. ~

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