UPDATE: On Tuesday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. announced the following findings in a statement, "On Monday, fifteen 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.
The FBI learned that garage number 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 number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 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."
NASCAR added in a statement Tuesday, "The FBI has completed the investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there 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."
NASCAR's Bubba Wallace has a message for anyone questioning the circumstances around the noose that was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama on Sunday.
The 26-year-old racer and NASCAR's only full-time Black driver appeared on ABC's The View Tuesday to open up about the ongoing investigation into what he calls a "despicable act of racism and hatred" and to address any doubters out there.
"Some people are suggesting that this is a hoax or perhaps even staged by NASCAR to garner more support for the removal of the confederate flag, but my understanding is that the only people who have access to the area where the noose was found are the racing teams and perhaps a few essential workers," co-host Sunny Hostin said during today's interview. "So what would you say to those people who are doubting that this even happened or that it's true?"
"Just like [NASCAR president] Steve Phelps said it offends me that people would go to those measures but again I'm not shocked," Wallace said. "People are entitled to their own opinion to make them feel good, whatever helps them sleep at night. But it is still an ongoing investigation with the FBI. I can now say I've talked to the FBI, never thought that would happen. But it's just unfortunate circumstances in a terrible time that we're in right now."
Wallace continued, "It's simple-minded people like that, the ones who are afraid of change, they use everything in their power to defend what they stand up for and instead of trying to listen and understand what's going on…like I said, this is an ongoing investigation. We're still trying to figure out whoever did this crazy act."
Wallace says the incident has reinforced his commitment to fighting for change and justice.
"This just shows how much further we have to go as a sport, but also as a nation, on a global level as well. Systemic racism is a problem from every aspect of life," Wallace told The View co-hosts. "We have to work so hard to get that to change and we know it's not going to change overnight. Who knows, a year, 5, 10 years. This isn't going to stop me from changing. This isn't going to be something that just boils over, blows over and just sweep it under the rug and forget about. It's a part of me. I said a couple weeks ago, that something changed inside me to be an activist. My mother said, 'Did you ever believe you would be an activist?' I said 'No, not really.' But I just felt in my heart that I needed to step up and be a leader in the forefront."
"I'm the only Black driver in NASCAR, it's easier for me to talk about these matters because I go through some racism throughout my life," he continued. "I don't have it as hard as other people, but I still go through it so I can witness it and be a part of it and speak on the matters and educate others. That's the biggest thing is that we as a sport put our messaging out there is educating people, listening and learning, helping people understand what other people are going through. We are very often too quick to listen and don't give enough time to hear each other out...Throughout all of this it will solidify where I stand and stand proud."
Last night, many of Wallace's fellow NASCAR drivers showed their support for him by marching alongside his car inside the Talladega Superspeedway.