Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in NASCAR’s best series, said he is relieved by the FBI’s determination that no crime was committed by hanging a rope in his race track garage, but frustrated by the reaction.
“I was relieved like many others to know it was not meant for me,” Wallace told Craig Melvin on NBC’s “TODAY” on Wednesday about the rope found at his garage stall over the weekend. “But it’s still frustrating knowing that people are always going to test you and always try to discredit you and that’s what I’m trying to understand now.”
He said that some people now call him “false” and mistakenly suggest that he was the person who found and reported the rope, when in fact that was not the case.
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The FBI said Tuesday it had determined that the rope found in Wallace’s garage at Talladega Speedway in Alabama was a rope that had been placed there in October, long before the post was assigned to Wallace. Wallace said Wednesday that the FBI told him that the garage tug had been designed in the shape of a rope, although it did not work.
“The photographic evidence that I have seen and that I have in my possession [shows] It was a garage pull that was a slipknot. I don’t know when we will get to the point where we will launch that image … It’s alert and it makes your hair stand on the back of your neck, “Wallace said.
“It was definitely shaped like a rope. It was not a functional tie, “Wallace said.
The review of the security video after the discovery of the rope on the race track showed that it had been placed months earlier, according to a joint statement from the US Attorney’s office. USA And the FBI.
Wallace was assigned the garage space last week, a development that “no one could have known” in 2019, according to the statement.
“On Monday, fifteen FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews on the situation at Talladega Superspeedway,” the statement said. “After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.”
NASCAR confirmed Tuesday that photographic evidence showed that a garage door pull rope was made like a rope and had been in place since last fall.
“This was obviously long before the arrival of the 43rd team and the garage assignment,” NASCAR said, referring to Wallace’s car number. “We appreciate the FBI’s prompt and thorough investigation and are grateful to know that this was not an intentional and racist act against Bubba.”
Wallace has said he was first informed by NASCAR President Steve Phelps of the rope.
Phelps said in a virtual conference call that the rope had gone unnoticed since there had been no race on the track since October.
“I want to be clear about Team 43,” added Phelps. “Team 43 had nothing to do with this. The evidence is very clear that the rope that was in that garage had been in the garage previously.”
NASCAR will continue an internal investigation into why a rope was turned into a rope, Phelps said.
The rope was found Sunday, less than two weeks after the league banned the Confederate flags on its properties and at its events, a move that came shortly after Wallace asked NASCAR to enact the ban.
On Monday, NASCAR drivers stood behind Wallace, presenting a unified front with the only black competitor on the circuit.
Wallace tweeted an image of the moving image, just before the rain-delayed Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama, with a one-word title: “Together.”