The FBI is now investigating the placement of a noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s car garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said Monday morning.
Sunday night, NASCAR announced the discovery of the noose.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act,” NASCAR’s statement said.
The sanctioning body said it launched an “immediate investigation” and will do everything it can to identify the person(s) responsible and “eliminate them from the sport.”
“As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all,” the statement said.
The act followed 11 days after NASCAR banned the Confederate battle flag at its events, a decision prompted by Wallace, the only Black driver in the top racing series. Wallace ran a “Black Lives Matter” themed car paint scheme on his No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet during the race at Martinsville two weeks ago.
The driver, who is the son of a Black mother and white father, has become an outspoken advocate for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement. He posted a statement on Twitter shortly after NASCAR released its statement.
“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” Wallace said on Twitter. “Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage.”
“Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone,” Wallace’s statement continued. “Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”
“As my mother told me today, ‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down,” Wallace’s statement concluded. “I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”
The GEICO 500 race that was scheduled at Talladega on Sunday was postponed until Monday due to inclement weather.
Before the race’s originally scheduled start at 3 p.m. Sunday, a plane flying a banner with the Confederate flag and a sign that read “Defund NASCAR” flew over Talladega Superspeedway.