Bubba Wallace said he had never seen anything like this.
Hours after an investigation, which included the US District Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, Jay Town, the FBI, and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, revealed that the “rope” found in the NASCAR driver’s garage in Talladega on Sunday was a pull on the garage door, the Mobile native appeared on CNN with Don Lemon on Tuesday night.
He was asked if ropes, like Talladega’s, are typical in NASCAR garages?
“The image I have and have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not a garage attraction,” said Wallace. “I have been running all my life,” he said. “We have run hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that, so people who want to call it a garage pull and pull all the video out of knots as evidence, go ahead. From the evidence we have, which I have, is a direct link.
“The FBI stated that it was a rope over and over again. NASCAR’s leadership has stated that it was rope. I can confirm that. In fact, I got evidence of what was hanging in my garage, on my car, around the guys in my pit crew to confirm that it was a tie. I’ve never seen anything like this. “
That said, Wallace does not believe it was directed at him.
“It was a rope,” he said. “It was a rope, whether it was tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a rope. It was not addressed to me, but someone tied a rope which is what I am saying. “
Wallace was adamant that the backlash will always be there.
“It doesn’t matter if we provide 100 percent data and evidence, photographic evidence, people will go to photoshop to make me look like a bad person at the end of the day. I will always have enemies. I will always have the motivators to go out and try to dethrone myself from the pedestal I am on. ”
Wallace, who was frustrated at times during the interview, blamed NASCAR and President Steve Phelps for how the incident was handled, saying the way Phelps acted is “testament to his character.” Wallace supports Phelps and NASCAR.
He also shared how he heard the news from Phelps.
“I don’t know what time it was around 5:30, 6 p.m. Sunday after the race was called,” Wallace said. The garages are closed. … I was about to go out to dinner with a couple of competitors. … I get a phone call, I’m in my trailer, from President Steve Phelps, and it’s a phone call that I will never forget. It was one of those phone calls where you can automatically notice in the first few seconds that something is wrong.
“It immediately made me think, ‘What did I do? Why am I suspended? What did I say wrong in an interview?
Phelps finally went to see Wallace.
“The conversation I had with Steve Phelps, and I’m speaking for him, was probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever told anyone. Tears rolled down his face, choking on every job he tried to say. The evidence he brought me was that a “hate crime” was committed.
Phelps, according to Wallace, said a “hate crime” had occurred, and the NASCAR president said he would not tolerate it.
Wallace said he was “puzzled” by the news.
More than anything, Wallace is not happy that someone suggested it was a hoax from his team.
“I am angry,” he said. “I am angry that people were trying to test my character and who I am, my integrity,” Wallace told Lemon. “They’re not stealing that from me, but they’re trying to prove that.”
Mark Heim is a sports reporter for The Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Mark_Heim.