NASCAR President Steve Phelps detailed Thursday afternoon through the findings of the NASCAR internal investigation teleconference, which concluded, about the rope found at driver’s stall in No. 43 Bubba Wallace’s garage in Talladega. Superspeedway last weekend.
On Thursday, a sanctioning body posted a photo of the rope, a day after an FBI investigation concluded that no federal hate crime was committed against Wallace, who is black, and that the rope had been at the garage door. at Talladega since October 2019.
Phelps also detailed both the timeline of events from discovery to completion of the investigation (scroll to the end of this story to see the full timeline) and NASCAR’s next steps to move forward.
“Upon learning and seeing the knot, our initial reaction was to protect our driver,” said Phelps. “We are living in a very emotional and charged moment. What we saw was a symbol of hatred and was only present in one area of the garage and that was Bubba Wallace’s car 43. In hindsight, you should have used the word ‘alleged’ in our statement.
“As you can see in the photo, the rope was real, as was our concern for Bubba. With similar excitement, others in our industry and our media stood up to defend the NASCAR family. Our NASCAR family. Because they are also part of the NASCAR family. We are proud to see so many defend what is right. “
Phelps outlined the specific steps NASCAR would take to move forward. It includes training on sensitivity and unconscious bias for all members of the industry, additional and thorough sweeps through the garage areas and installation of additional cameras in all garages.
MORE: NASCAR Statement on FBI Investigation
“Our final conclusion for this research is to ensure that this never happens again, that no one goes through a rope without acknowledging the potential damage it can cause,” Phelps said. “In the future, our efforts are best spent on making sure that each competitor feels safe and each guest feels welcome. I would also like to reinforce that what we saw in Talladega before the race on Monday, our drivers, teams and officials proudly demonstrated that we are united in the belief that there is no place for racism in our sport. “
After Sunday’s discovery, NASCAR officials asked each track to tour their respective garages. Through the 1,684 garage positions on 29 tracks, NASCAR found that only 11 in total had a deployable rope tied with a knot and only one rope, which it discovered Sunday at garage position No. 43.
Wallace has become more open in recent weeks by championing causes to fight racial injustice. Other drivers in the NASCAR garage have spoken out behind his message and showed their support the Monday before the GEICO 500 in Talladega.
“Bubba Wallace and Team 43 had nothing to do with this,” Phelps reiterated Thursday. “… I want to thank Bubba Wallace and everyone at Richard Petty Motorsports. Specifically, I want to thank Bubba for his leadership in the past three weeks. Bubba has done nothing more than represent this sport with courage, class and dignity, and he championed what he believes in. And we must all support him. I know I will.
Sunday June 21
~ 4:30 pm: NASCAR alerted to the presence of the rope by team member No. 43. NASCAR security performs a complete sweep of the garage. Only the 43 team’s rope was found to be a rope; all the others were regular strings.
~ 6 pm: NASCAR’s top leadership meets, determines the need for research, and begins the initial steps of the investigation.
~ 7:30 pm: NASCAR President Steve Phelps notifies Bubba Wallace of the rope discovered in the garage.
~ 10:40 pm: NASCAR releases statement after continuing to gather additional facts and investigations.
Monday June 22
– Monday morning early: The FBI’s Birmingham office contacts NASCAR.
~ 10 am: The FBI arrives at Talladega Superspeedway with 15 field agents to begin the investigation. NASCAR provides the FBI with a list of staff with access to the garage, as well as videos and images taken from the weekend and fall 2019 weekend as well.
– During the day: The FBI interviews race team personnel from various teams, NASCAR officials, track and field, fire and security personnel and track custody personnel. Talladega Superspeedway also provides the FBI with a list of events that took place since October 2019, which is when the new garages opened.
– End of the day: The FBI reports that the interviews are complete for the day and the evidence at the time was inconclusive, with plans to continue its investigation the following morning.
Tuesday June 23
– Early Tuesday morning: NASCAR receives additional video and provides it to the FBI. The video corroborated testimony from one of the interviews the FBI had previously conducted that the rope was present in that position during the 2019 Fall Cup event. The United States Attorney’s Office and the FBI reported to NASCAR that his investigation had concluded that this was not a hate crime.
– 4:10. p.m: The FBI publishes a statement stating the results of the investigation.
– 4:15 pm: After waiting for the FBI signal, NASCAR releases a statement about the FBI investigation, with the following conference call.