NASCAR critics had a chance to revisit their claims that the company is "racist" this week after a "noose" was reportedly discovered in the garage of black race car driver Bubba Wallace. The 26-year-old Wallace, the only black driver in the circuit, released a statement on Twitter about the discovery and the overall fight against racism.
NASCAR and the DOJ investigated the incident, finding on Tuesday that no federal crime was committed. According to authorities, the rope had already been hanging in the garage as early as October 2019.
NEWS: The FBI has just released a statement about the NASCAR noose incident at Talladega, indicating it was a misunderstanding. No crime was committed. The noose was already there as early as last year. pic.twitter.com/j2MGrOvUN3— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 23, 2020
NASCAR confirmed that the rope was not planted in Wallace's garage to intentionally target him.
NASCAR releases a statement on the situation: pic.twitter.com/RC6asyMxMn— Jeff Gluck (@jeff_gluck) June 23, 2020
Of course the facts won't stop NASCAR's critics. But as for Wallace, he didn't demonize NASCAR. He loves the sport and he made it clear that his fellow drivers and crew members were not his enemies. He called them his "family."
And the feeling is mutual. In an extremely moving scene before the start of the Talladega race, dozens of drivers helped push Wallace's car to the track in solidarity.
Together pic.twitter.com/D4zW3jA5y5— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 22, 2020
My family. pic.twitter.com/031TvNDopA— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) June 23, 2020
Wallace led the field for a portion of the run and finished in 14th, making it his best Talladega appearance ever. He shook hands with some excited fans after the race and told an interviewer that the whole experience was, "bad a**." He said it's been a "hectic" week and he told "whoever it was" that put the alleged noose in his garage that he or she is "not going to take away his smile."
Wallace also started to choke up when recalling how his fellow drivers walked alongside his car before the race.
"I'm proud to be a part of this sport," he said.