The FBI has determined no crime was committed after a noose was found in the garage stall of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace on Sunday afternoon. The FBI determined the noose had been in the stall since 2019.
"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," U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said Tuesday in a joint statement. "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."
In a statement, NASCAR said "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."
The noose was found in Wallace's team's stall before the NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama. Wallace is the only black full-time driver in NASCAR and helped lead the push to ban the Confederate flag from future NASCAR events.
"No one should feel uncomfortable when they come to a NASCAR race," Wallace said before the ban. "So it starts with Confederate flags. Get them out of here. They have no place for them."
Prior to the race, which was held Monday after a rain delay, fellow drivers and team members helped push Wallace's car to the front of the track.
Before the race, Jimmie Johnson explained the gesture. "As everybody knows, this is such a big family in the garage area, and the news really has disturbed us all. We want justice, in a sense, and we want to know who and why," Johnson said. "Until all those [questions] are answered, we want to stand with our friend. We want to stand with Bubba."
Read NASCAR's full statement on the investigation below:
“The FBI has completed its 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 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.”
This article originally published to CBS News on June 23, 2020, at 3:33 p.m. PT.
Wallace spoke with Don Lemon on Tuesday's CNN Tonight, and addressed the FBI's findings.
"The image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull," Wallace said. "It was a straight-up noose."
Wallace went on to stress that, despite it not being an action meant for him, it was still likely a racially-motivated incident. "Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose. It wasn't directed at me, but somebody tied a noose. That's what I am saying," Wallace explained.
“The image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull,” says NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace.— CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) June 24, 2020
“It was a noose. Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose." https://t.co/LpRUdKboaH pic.twitter.com/hQGreK5Ofs