NASCAR released a photo of the garage pull-down rope fashioned as a noose that was found hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.
A Richard Petty Motorsports crewman noticed the noose and informed crew chief Jerry Baxter, who notified security. A photo was taken of the noose before it was cut down, and NASCAR contacted the FBI, who also viewed the picture.
The Associated Press's Jenna Fryer reports, "every single entity that viewed evidence—no other pull in any other stall had one like that—and ALL believed it was a noose."
Following its investigation, the FBI announced Tuesday that the noose found in Wallace's garage was there as early as October 2019 and the driver was not the target of a hate crime.
NASCAR completed its investigation, and president Steve Phelps said "the noose was real" and "our initial reaction was to protect our driver."
"What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, I should have used the word 'alleged' in our statement," Phelps said in a statement. "As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba.
"Our ultimate conclusion for this investigation is to ensure that this never happens again, that no one walks by a noose without recognizing the potential damage it can do."
The Cup garage at Talladega Superspeedway was built in 2019 and had not been used again until Sunday. Phelps said NASCAR has swept all 20 tracks, 1,648 garage stalls and found 11 total ropes that had a pull-down rope tied in a knot. Out of those 11, only one was a noose—the one found in Wallace's garage stall.
Wallace issued a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the FBI's findings and said he felt "relieved that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was."
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.