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FBI: No charges in NASCAR noose incident involving Bubba Wallace

Bubba Wallace, driver of the #43 Richard Petty Motorsports Chevrolet, wears a "I Can't Breathe - Black Lives Matter" t-shirt under his fire suit in solidarity with protesters around the world taking to the streets after the death of George Floyd on May 25. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October, federal authorities said Tuesday in announcing there will be no charges filed.

U.S. attorney Jay Town and FBI special agent in charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. said the investigation determined “although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.”

“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime,” NASCAR said in a statement. “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 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.”

A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports discovered the noose Sunday at the Alabama race track.

NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, which sent 15 agents to the track to investigate. They determined no federal crime was committed.

The statement said the garage stall was assigned to Wallace last week in advance of the race scheduled for Sunday but held on Monday because of rain. Through video confirmed by NASCAR it was discovered the noose had been “in that garage as early as October 2019.”

The agencies said the evidence did not support federal charges.

Wallace, the only Black driver at NASCAR’s top level, successfully pushed the stock car series to ban the Confederate flag at its venues less than two weeks ago.