Tuesday evening, U.S. attorney Jay E. Town and FBI special agent Johnnie Sharp Jr. released a statement announcing that the noose found earlier this week in the garage of Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's lone African-American driver, was a misunderstanding.
"On Monday, 15 FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.
The FBI learned that garage No. 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week. The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose in garage No. 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019. Although the noose is now known to have been in garage No. 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage No. 4 last week.
The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace and everyone who cooperated with this investigation."
NASCAR issued a statement as well.
“The FBI has completed its investigation at Talladega Superspeedway and determined that Bubba Wallace was not the target of a hate crime. 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.”
Earlier this month, NASCAR banned the display of the Confederate Flag at all events, a suggestion that Wallace had made.
After the noose was found in Wallace's trailer Sunday, all drivers walked pit row with Wallace in solidarity before Monday's Geico 500. Wallace was tracking near the front of the pack for much of the race, but ended up finishing 14th.
This story will be updated with more details as they emerge...