The knot found in Bubba Wallace's garage in Talladega Superspeedway, Alabama, has existed since at least last October, federal officials said on Tuesday when announcing that there will be no charges in an incident that rocked NASCAR and its only full-time black driver. . .
US attorney Jay Town and FBI special agent Johnnie Sharp Jr said an investigation determined "although it is now known that the loop was in garage number 4 in 2019, no one could have known that Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 in last week. . "
A Richard Petty Motorsports crew member discovered the loop Sunday on the Alabama race track. NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the runway to investigate. They determined that no federal crime was committed.
NASCAR publishes a statement on the situation: pic.twitter.com/RC6asyMxMn
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The statement said that the garage was delivered to Wallace last week before the race scheduled for Sunday but held on Monday because of rain. Through a video confirmed by NASCAR, it was discovered that the loop "was in that garage already in October 2019".
The agencies said the evidence does not support federal charges.
Wallace successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its locations less than two weeks ago. There were criticisms of the ban by some longtime fans and security was reinforced for Wallace, a 26-year-old Alabama native who wore a shirt last month because of his fire suit that said "I can't breathe". His paint scheme for a race in Virginia was Black Lives Matter.
NASCAR said in a statement that "the FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms that the rope pulled by the garage door, made like a noose, has been positioned there since the beginning of last fall. This was obviously long before arrival and allocation of the 43 "team garage. "
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The Wood Brothers Racing team said one of its employees informed the team that he remembered "seeing a knob tied in the garage pulling the rope since last fall" when NASCAR raced in Talladega in October. The team said it immediately alerted NASCAR and helped with the investigation.
The discovery of the bond surprised the Stock Car series, which is taking an active position in an effort for inclusion, while distancing itself from its rocky racial history. The series tried to ban the Confederate flag for the first time five years ago, but did nothing to enforce the order.
Two weeks ago, Wallace renewed the ban request and NASCAR responded, but has not yet detailed how the exhibition will end. Talladega marked the first race since the coronavirus pandemic that fans were allowed – 5,000 were allowed to buy tickets – and some upset about the flag ban passed the main entrance with the southern symbol. A banner flew over the road on Sunday from a Confederate flag that said "Defund NASCAR".
NASCAR announced late Sunday that the bond had been discovered and the industry had gathered around Wallace. All 39 rival drivers and their teams helped push Wallace's car to the front of the road before the national anthem and stood behind him in solidarity.
Wallace was joined by the team's owner, Richard Petty, who gently placed his hand on Wallace's shoulder while he cried. Wallace after the race went to fencing along the stands and greeted the fans.
"The sport is changing," said Wallace.