NASCAR releases photo of the suspected ‘noose’ found in Bubba Wallace’s garage

Bubba Wallace (pictured) wasn’t the person who reported the garage door pull rope to NASCAR or the FBI, but has insisted that what was shown to him was a ‘straight up noose’

NASCAR has released a photo of the suspected ‘noose’ found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega on Sunday that at was investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime before being revealed to be an innocent garage door pull rope that had been in use for at least a year.

The picture shows a long rope fashioned into a loop, but with one end coiled around the knot, the image does have a striking resemblance to a noose. 

On Monday, NASCAR and the FBI both launched investigations into the matter, which revealed that the same rope was being used as a garage pull in 2019 by a white driver, Paul Menard. Footage from previous years showed similar garage door pulls being used by other drivers. 

According to NASCAR.com, the rope found in Wallace’s garage happened to be the only one on the entire circuit that was fashioned into an apparent noose. In fact, circuit officials asked representatives from each track to survey their respective garages, and of the 1,684 stalls across 29 tracks, only 11 had pull-down ropes that were tied in a knot. 

Wallace’s was the only one tied as a noose, although video evidence shows it had been fashioned that way since at least 2019.      

NASCAR has released a photo of the suspected 'noose' found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega on Sunday that at was investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime before being revealed to be an innocent garage door pull rope that had been in use for at least a year

NASCAR has released a photo of the suspected ‘noose’ found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega on Sunday that at was investigated by the FBI as a possible hate crime before being revealed to be an innocent garage door pull rope that had been in use for at least a year

Wallace's garage stall at Talladega pictured after the suspected noose was cut down from the left side of the door opening. The 26-year-old Wallace was not the person who reported it

Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega pictured after the suspected noose was cut down from the left side of the door opening. The 26-year-old Wallace was not the person who reported it

A Youtube video from 2019 showed a pull rope featuring a noose (circled) hanging from the garage door in the same stall used by Wallace and his team at Talladega earlier this week. At the time the video was taken, it was being used by a white driver, Paul Menard

A Youtube video from 2019 showed a pull rope featuring a noose (circled) hanging from the garage door in the same stall used by Wallace and his team at Talladega earlier this week. At the time the video was taken, it was being used by a white driver, Paul Menard

‘Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver,’ NASCAR President Steve Phelps said Thursday. ‘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,’ Phelps said.

‘In hindsight, I should have used the word “alleged” in our statement.’  

Wallace, who did not discover the noose and wasn’t the person who reported it to NASCAR or the FBI, faced criticism for the misunderstanding on Wednesday, but described himself as ‘relieved’ that it was not intended as a racist threat.

‘I think we’ll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been,’ he said in a statement.

Wallace told NBC that he was actually suspicious the supposed ‘noose’ was, in fact, a garage door pull, so he went looking for others to see if they were tied in a similar fashion. 

‘When I did find out, I was adamant about searching all the other garages and making sure that this wasn’t a garage pull, and it ended up being one,’ he said Wednesday.  

Videos from previous years revealed that the garage door ropes were often tied into nooses

In this video from Talladega from 2017, a white mechanic is seen working alongside one of the nooses

Videos from 2017 revealed that the garage door ropes at Talladega were often tied into nooses

In this October 2017 shot, several nooses are seen being used in the Talladega garages

In this October 2017 shot, several nooses are seen being used in the Talladega garages

All 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace before Monday's restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began

All 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace before Monday’s restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began

As for his mistaken belief that the rope was a racist message sent from an anonymous antagonist, Wallace defended himself Wednesday by telling CNN that a ‘straight-up noose’ was found in his garage. 

‘The photo evidence that I’ve seen, that I have in my possession, of what was in our garage, is exactly a garage pull, it is, that is a noose,’ he said. ‘I don’t know when we get to the point to release that image, but anybody sees it, it’s alerting and it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up for sure.’ 

He went on to say that he is ‘p****d’ with his critics who are using the incident to minimize accusations of racism within the sport.      

Before the misunderstanding was revealed, all 39 other NASCAR drivers rallied in support of Wallace at Monday’s restart, collectively pushing his No. 43 car to the front of the grid in a show of solidarity. 

Wallace, an Alabama native, became overwhelmed with emotion and fought back tears as his car owner, NASCAR legend Richard Petty, gave him a hug in the moments before the race began.

By Tuesday, an FBI investigation found that the item – which is described in a NASCAR statement as a ‘garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose’ – had been there since 2019.

Wallace stressed that he remains thankful for the outpouring of support he received before Monday’s restart in Alabama from both his NASCAR rivals and fans. 

‘Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we’ve made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all.’

In response to NASCAR's ban, SCV had arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday's scheduled race at Talladega while a caravan of cars (pictured) paraded the rebel banner in front of the entrance

In response to NASCAR’s ban, SCV had arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday’s scheduled race at Talladega while a caravan of cars (pictured) paraded the rebel banner in front of the entrance

Wallace and NASCAR were understandably inclined to believe the noose-like rope was a racist gesture because the 26-year-old had successfully pushed the circuit to ban the Confederate flag from events. 

As the only black full-time driver on NASCAR’s top circuit, Wallace faced increasing criticism among many of the sport’s southern fans. 

One driver on NASCAR’s truck series, Ray Ciccarelli, vowed to retire at season’s end over the move due to his objections. 

Paul C. Gramling Jr. (pictured), who is listed as the SCV 'Commander in Chief,' told the Columbia Daily Herald on Tuesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization was solely responsible for flying the 'DEFUND NASCAR' banner over Talladega in response to the ban

Paul C. Gramling Jr. (pictured), who is listed as the SCV ‘Commander in Chief,’ told the Columbia Daily Herald on Tuesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization was solely responsible for flying the ‘DEFUND NASCAR’ banner over Talladega in response to the ban

In response to NASCAR’s ban, a group called the Sons of Confederate veterans arranged for a small propeller plane to fly the Confederate Flag over the northern Alabama race track before Sunday’s scheduled race while a caravan of cars paraded the rebel banner in front of Talladega’s main entrance.   

Paul C. Gramling Jr., who is listed as the SCV ‘Commander in Chief,’ told the Columbia Daily Herald on Tuesday that his nearly 123-year-old organization arranged for the banner to be flown over Talladega in response to that ban.

‘NASCAR’s banning the display of the Confederate battle flag by its fans is nothing less than trampling upon Southerners’ First Amendment Right of free expression,’ Gramling Jr. said. ‘This un-American act shall not go unchallenged.

‘[On Sunday], members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Confederate Air Force displayed its disapproval of NASCAR’s trampling upon the First Amendment Rights of Southerners.’ 

However, through an attorney, the SCV did condemn what was briefly believed to be a noose.  

‘The threat against Bubba Wallace is not only reprehensible, it is un-American,’ said attorney Edward Phillips.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk

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