Bubba Wallace Feels 'Relieved' FBI Investigation Didn't Reveal Hate Crime

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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace issued a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the FBI's findings into a noose found his garage stall this week, saying he felt "relieved that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was."

On Tuesday evening, the FBI announced that Wallace was not the target of a hate crime despite a noose being discovered in his garage Sunday at Alabama's Talladega Superspeedway. The investigation found that the noose was in Talladega Superspeedway's garage No. 4—the garage Wallace was assigned—as early as October 2019.

"This was obviously well before the 43 team's arrival and garage assignment," NASCAR said in a statement. "We appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intention, racist act against Bubba."

Wallace, the lone Black driver in NASCAR's top tour, added in his statement Wednesday that the findings of the investigation, "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."

The act of unity that Wallace alludes to came Monday afternoon, ahead of the Geico 500. NASCAR drivers rallied around Wallace before the race, as they pushed his No. 43 car down the track to the front of the field in support.

Wallace went on to finish in 14th-place. 

News of the incident broke Sunday evening when NASCAR announced that a noose had been found in Wallace's garage. Wallace said in a statement Sunday that the "despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened," but added that the incident "will not be break" him.

Earlier this month, NASCAR announced a ban on Confederate flags at all events, something Wallace had strongly advocated for. However, fans outside of Talladega Superspeedway displayed Confederate flags from the vehicles on Sunday. A plane flew overhead with a Confederate flag banner, with a sign reading "Defund NASCAR."