NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace says he’s “pissed” members of the public are now questioning his integrity after the FBI said an alleged “noose” found in his garage stall this week was there long before his team moved in.
NASCAR said it launched an investigation after a crewmember discovered the noose Sunday afternoon at the Talladega Superspeedway. In a statement earlier this week, NASCAR said it was “angry and outraged.” On Tuesday the FBI said the noose had been in the garage since last year and concluded Wallace had not therefore been the victim of a hate crime. Mentioning the FBI report, NASCAR described the item as a “garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose.” There are photos and video circulating across social media that appear to back up the FBI’s conclusions. You can read the full official statement about the FBI investigation.
Wallace made an appearance on CNN just hours after the announcement was made on Tuesday. He told host Don Lemon, “I’m mad because people are trying to test my character and the person that I am and my integrity.” Wallace also said in the interview, “The image that I have and I have seen of what was hanging in my garage is not garage pull. I’ve been racing all my life, we’ve raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. It was a noose, whether tied in 2019 or whenever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.” You can watch the video of the interview below:
"I've been racing all of my life, we've raced out of hundreds of garages that never had garage pulls like that. … It's a straight up noose."
Bubba Wallace to Don Lemon. pic.twitter.com/HnJYpbPrlZ
— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) June 24, 2020
In a statement posted to his Twitter page earlier this week, Wallace said the “act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened” but vowed the incident “will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down.”
On Tuesday night, after the FBI announced the results of their investigation, the race car driver said he continued to stand by what he said. “This will not break me, none of the allegations of being a hoax will break me or tear me down,” he said. “It will piss me off, absolutely. But that only fuels the competitive drive in me to shut everybody up,” he added.
NASCAR also issued a statement regarding the FBI’s decision. “We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba,” the statement read. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.”