Bubba Wallace is grateful that a rope found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway was not intended for him, but he doesn’t think the investigation that followed was an overreaction.
“Are we hypersensitive to everything that is happening in the world right now? Absolutely,” Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time black driver, said in the first take on ESPN on Wednesday. “But if you were in my shoes, and I doubt anyone can walk in my shoes, especially right now, you would go that route over and over again.”
The FBI determined that Wallace was not a victim of a hate crime and that a noose-shaped rope had been on the garage door since early October. Wallace’s crew noticed it this weekend.
“Yes, it was a jerk in the garage for our position at Talladega, but that had the solid shape of a rope,” Wallace said. “And when my boys saw that, when my crew member saw that, who turned out to be African-American, he did his research first, and I was very proud of that. David Cropps, a guy I’ll be supporting in any trench, any day, He was pacing back and forth across the garages to make sure he wasn’t overreacting, and when he saw that the other pulls in the garage were basically just a solid rope, no knots, and we had a knot that was shaped like a rope, yes, that calls [for an investigation]”
An Alabama native who drives the No. 43 Chevrolet for racing icon Richard Petty, Wallace is not happy that he had to be in a position to uncover the rope.
“Someone knows. Whoever tied it knows how to tie a rope. And that’s fine,” Wallace said. “I don’t know if they did it with hatred in the heart or as a joke, but it ended up being a misunderstanding, some will say. But unfortunately, I hate being a bit on the bad side of the deal because of that, just because they just gave me information related to me and we continue with it. “
Despite being sad about the situation, Wallace is also grateful for the support he received from his team, other riders, and NASCAR itself.
– Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 24, 2020
Wallace said he will continue to use his platform to drive inclusion in the sport.
“Is it going to take years and years to reach a perfect world? Will it ever be a perfect world?” Wallace said. “Who the hell knows; probably not. But knowing that I have left an impact and left a legacy if they take me out tomorrow, or whatever, then I can do it peacefully, because I have helped educate a lot of my classmates and many of my competitors “.