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FBI rules that Bubba Wallace was not target of noose in Talladega garage

The FBI ruled Tuesday that NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime at Talladega Superspeedway.

Last week a noose was found in a NASCAR garage occupied by Wallace’s race team in advance of the GEICO 500, which was run Monday after bad weather delayed the start from Sunday afternoon at the Alabama track.

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The FBI ruled that based on evidence it found, the noose was in the garage as early as last fall, long before anyone knew that Wallace, the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR’s top series, and his team would occupy that garage this year.

NASCAR ran a fall race at Talladega in October 2019.

NASCAR’s statement, released late Tuesday afternoon:

“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall. This was obviously well before the (No.) 43 team’s arrival and garage assignment.

“We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”