Representatives from the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation said on Tuesday that no criminal charges would be filed regarding the noose, noting that it had been in that same garage since 2019.
A crew member reported the noose in Wallace's garage stall to NASCAR on Sunday. Wallace coincidentally was assigned that garage.
Bubba Wallace takes a selfie of himself and of other drivers who had pushed his vehicle to the front in the pits at Talladega Superspeedway before the NASCAR Cup Series auto race in Talladega Ala., on June 22, 2020.
The incident placed racism front and center for NASCAR, which two weeks ago banned the Confederate flag from its venues and races at Wallace's urging. We are angry and outraged, and can not state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act.
The FBI announcement earlier this week, that no crime was committed, unleashed allegations on social media that Wallace had perpetrated a hoax. NASCAR on Thursday said it checked with 29 tracks and among 1,684 garage stalls, only 11 had pull ropes tied in a knot. "What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 auto of Bubba Wallace", Phelps said.
NASCAR's investigation is over, Phelps said, and cameras will be added to garages moving forward.
Phelps said NASCAR had determined the noose was not in place when the October 2019 race weekend began but was created at some point during that weekend. Veteran driver Ray Ciccarelli also announced his upcoming retirement after stating his opposition to the confederate flag ban. "First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was. We don't know that".
Phelps acknowledged the investigation's findings prompt another question - how could [the noose] have gone unnoticed by so many people in October 2019 and this past Sunday morning.
"Our ultimate conclusions for this investigation is to ensure that this never happens again".
"We could not determine whether it was someone on their team or someone else", Phelps said. NASCAR will also require members of the industry to complete sensitivity and unconscious bias training.
"We need to keep Bubba safe".
"We thought it was important to put out a statement as quickly as we could", Phelps said.
Wallace stressed that he remains thankful for the outpouring of support he received before Monday's restart in Alabama, when his NASCAR rivals pushed his auto to the front of the field in a show of solidarity.