(Photo: Nigel Kinrade Photography)

Noose Found In Bubba Wallace Garage Stall at Talladega; NASCAR Confirms FBI Investigation

NASCAR released upsetting news Sunday (June 21) from Talladega Superspeedway after a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace’s No. 43 car. The news broke just before 11 p.m. but the discovery was made that afternoon.

Officials responded with a statement vowing to identify any individuals involved in the act as soon as possible. No one person was attributed to the release.

“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” the statement read. “We are angry and outraged, and cannot state strongly enough how seriously we take this heinous act. We have launched an immediate investigation, and will do everything we can to identify the person(s) responsible and eliminate them from the sport. As we have stated unequivocally, there is no place for racism in NASCAR, and this act only strengthens our resolve to make the sport open and welcoming to all.”

Around the time of the statement’s release, Wallace took to Twitter to respond to the incident.

“Today’s despicable act of racism and hatred leaves me incredibly saddened and serves as a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism,” Wallace said. “Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing community that is accepting and welcoming of everyone. Nothing is more important and we will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”

Wallace also took time to emphasize he’s been overwhelmed by support. Fellow competitors and team members across the garage in recent weeks have stepped up as the driver spoke out.

“As my mother told me today,” he concluded. “‘They are just trying to scare you.’ This will not break me, I will not give in nor will I back down. I will continue to proudly stand for what I believe in.”

Since 2018, Bubba Wallace has drove Richard Petty’s famed No. 43 car as the only African-American full-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series. Amid growing concerns over racial inequality in the country, he has spoken out in recent weeks in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Wallace pushed for a ban of the Confederate flag in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon, a suggestion taken up by NASCAR June 10.

The driver then ran a paint scheme in support of the #BlackLivesMatter movement that night at Martinsville Speedway. He finished 11th in the race.

Prior to the currently-postponed GEICO 500 Sunday, a confederate flag was flown above the racetrack with the words “Defund NASCAR” connected to it. Members of social media outlets also posted videos of vehicles flying the banned flag before the original start time of the race. Those cars were allegedly en route to the speedway in what some suggested was a coordinated protest parade.

NASCAR said late Sunday they’ll work with law enforcement to see if any actual crimes have been committed. Multiple cameras are located throughout the garage stalls at Talladega Superspeedway, video which should assist in the investigation.

UPDATE:

NASCAR President Steve Phelps addressed media via teleconference on Monday afternoon. Phelps stated that the noose was found Sunday by a No. 43 crew member, who notified the sanctioning body.  NASCAR has been in touch with local authorities and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with FBI investigators at the track Monday morning.

We are, as I said, in the early stages of this,” Phelps told media. “We will continue to keep the media informed as we learn more.  Obviously this is a very, very serious act.  We take it as such.  We will do everything in our power to make sure that whoever has committed this act comes to justice and comes to light and we rid this type of behavior from our sport.”

Phelps added that details of an ongoing Federal investigation, including any potential suspects and evidence, are confidential as they are integral to the case.

Phelps also reiterated that access to the garage is very limited currently due to COVID-19.

“As you are aware, we have a very small number of people that are in the footprint, only essential personnel there,” Phelps said.  Obviously we’ll review the entire list with the FBI about who had access at that particular time. We also use something called ‘compartmentalization’.  We’ll look at who was in that particular area.  We’ll be able to narrow that down. Again, getting into the specifics about what the FBI is going to do working with our security people, it’s kind of too early to determine.  I don’t have access to the information at this point.

“I can’t say no for certain (if there was a security breach).  The security around getting into the footprint is significant.  As I’m sure you guys are aware, we have limited it just to essential personnel.  Security is very tight getting in and out of the footprint. I can’t speculate whether there would be a breach or not.”

Phelps added, “We’re going to use every effort we can to determine who has done this, whether it’s a single person or multiple people.  I know that the director of the FBI has informed the Birmingham office to use all their resources to find out, as well, all the resources available to NASCAR, the FBI. The teams and drivers and anyone who would have any access to this have all said, Hey, we want to make sure we figure out who has done this vile act.”

He also made it clear that NASCAR will not tolerate acts such as this one, stating that provided the person or people responsible is identified, “Unequivocally they will be banned from this sport for life.  There is no room for this at all.  We won’t tolerate it.  They won’t be here.  I don’t care who they are, they will not be here.” 

Phelps confirmed that there was extra security for Wallace today and the No 43 team was allowed to inspect the car to make sure that it was not tampered with and is safe to race today.

RPM owner Richard Petty also called for a permanent ban for the perpetrator and released the following statement:

This is still a developing story.

Sign up for the Frontstretch Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transfered to AWeber ( more information )
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.

Since June 2020, John Willoughby has been a Saturday writer for Frontstretch.com. He became a fan of the sport upon his attendance to the 2008 Daytona 500 and continues to attend yearly. Outside of reporting, he enjoys blogging and participating in one of many civic, service and fraternal organizations he's involved in.

Support Frontstretch on Patreon

Check Also

Beside the Rising Tide: If You Build It …

“If you build it, they will come.” Such was the tag line to Field of …

5 Points to Ponder: Does It Actually Matter if Jimmie Johnson Doesn’t Win Again?

Does It Matter if Jimmie Doesn’t Win Again? In the past few months (and to …

30 comments

  1. Avatar

    Unfortunately I find I’m not surprised at this.

    • Avatar

      Sb – I am surprised. I’ve been attending NASCAR events since 1976, was formerly licensed by NASCAR, and I have never seen any racism in the grandstands, garages, crew or anywhere else. I apologize to the #43 crew

  2. Avatar

    This is sad…but in this politically correct times wouldn’t mixed race be more appropriate.

  3. Avatar

    So many emotions have come over me as I read this article this morning. I am sad, angry, bitter, speechless. I really have nothing to say, I am sick to my stomach.

  4. Avatar
    Scott Richardson

    I am sorry, but I am very suspicious of this and I smell another Jussie Smollett case. Just like Smollett, you have a person who is desperate to keep their job. You have cameras all throughout the pit area and limited people even allowed into the garage area.

    You tell me that someone was able to walk around carrying this noose and then hang it up in the garage area without being seen while doing it. I may be in the minority, but I find this fishy.

    • Avatar

      Sadly, I have had the same exact thoughts myself.

    • Avatar

      My first thought too. If this is legit, that person would have to be pretty stupid given what’s going on right now. And I would think the garage area would have cameras showing whoever did it. I also have never seen any form of racism displayed at all when going to any Nascar race. Quite the opposite actually. There alot of coincidences that just can’t be ignored too, so I’m reserving judgement until all facts come out.

    • Avatar

      Yeah… Maybe it was shape shifting lizards from the deep state sent by the RADICAL DEMS to brainwash NASCAR execs into Communists in an effort to install PC thought police security at all tracks.
      I’m certain it wasn’t some racist white guy…. I’ve never seen one at a NASCAR event.

    • Avatar

      Yep, until I see some security video (which there should be plenty of) I’ll have to say this doesn’t pass the smell test.

    • Avatar

      Can hardly wait to see what the investigation comes up with.

    • Avatar

      I’m sorry but this seems very similar to Jeffery Epstein or Smolet? all of a sudden can’t find the video or it was broken? I guess free thinking people are Stupid.

    • Avatar
      Crystal Mccormick

      I agree

  5. Avatar

    This is sad. I hope they find the person that did it. I would bet it has to be a track employee.
    I find it hard to believe that they don’t have security cameras around that would capture it. Wouldn’t they need them for races where the cars are impounded after qualifying?

    You know, my niece goes to Salisbury University in Maryland. Last year they found a noose hanging on campus. It made headlines in the local news for a few days. They eventually found the person responsible. He was black (which was barely mentioned in the news). I have no idea why or what he was thinking but don’t jump to any conclusions before all the facts are in.

  6. Avatar

    Unrelated question for Frontstretch staff,,,,

    I noticed that the number of comments for each article are no longer showing up (unless you actually click on the article and open it). Was this a design change or is it something wrong with my browser/computer?

    • Avatar

      Bill B – i noticed same thing. i think they did this so we open article to read and then leave comments.

    • Beth Lunkenheimer

      I just looked at the comment settings and nothing in there allows us to remove the number of comments on an article. It was probably a recent update to the website that did it. Thank you for being such a loyal reader!

    • Avatar

      I thought it was because of all the zero comments for the articles. Bad sign.

    • Beth Lunkenheimer

      Bill B, I checked in with our web developer and he inadvertently turned off the comment counts while working on a different project. He’s fixed that and you should be seeing it now.

    • Avatar

      What about the validity now….it was a pull rope on a garage door🤣😂😂. Hey Jussie, I mean Bubba, stay away from the water cooler…. those little white pointy cups are actually clan hoods😂🤣😂

  7. Avatar

    That was my first thought too Janice but they usually aren’t so conniving at FS. They are usually straight shooters. If that was their thought process then it might backfire on them. Many times if an article doesn’t interest me I won’t click on it because I don’t want to read it. However, if I see a few comments I might open it just to see the comments. Now I will have no reason to click on them.

  8. Avatar

    Also, I will have less reason to go back to articles I’ve already read and commented on. Many times, if I see the comment count has went up since I last visited, I will go back to old articles. Now I will have no way of knowing new comments have been made and therefore will have no reason to look back on day old articles.

  9. Matt

    If NASCAR doesn’t have cameras in the garage operating 24/7 they are way overdue. There was an incident back around 1973 when teams and drivers arrived at Talladega the morning of the race to find many of their cars had been vandalized overnight. Brake lines had been cut, and tires slashed not to point they’d go flat but cuts made into the sidewall deep enough those tires would surely have failed in a few laps. Other cars had their radiator hoses and accessory belts slashed. The perp was never caught and NASCAR said at the time (47 years ago) they were going to increase security in the garage area.

    • Avatar

      Maybe it’s time they did. But then again, restrictor plates are a temporary thing, like income tax after the first world war.

  10. Avatar

    Disgraceful under any circumstances. That said, the timing is very suspicious and one would have to be extremely naive in the current environment to not consider the perpetrator well could have had other motivations in mind.

  11. Avatar

    This is fake. Nobody will be scared by the hanging of a noose.

    Nascar gets great exposure as does this driver. The BLM gets more press. People are murdering cops , defacing monuments and seeking to destroy our democracy. You don’t think they would put up a noose to create controversy?

  12. Avatar

    We should be thankful that the FBI is investigating this and not NASCAR investigating itself. That way there will be no spinning the results as NASCAR would do.

  13. Avatar

    Great article, well written. Not sure who put the noose there but they will find out.

  14. Avatar

    Well well- as of 6/23 we’ve all learned that it was a loop on the roll up door. Watch the media bury this embarrassment ASAP. S#1t stirring at its worst from the media. Since na$car is so scared now if not being P.C. enough, Maybey they are responsible, since they should have checked the loops on all of the doors when they were installed. BTW- many of the roll up doors at my job have the loops in them from the manufacturer. Once this hyper sensitive, ridiculous PC crap starts, you’ll be on eggshells from now on.Sad.