Bubba Wallace appeared on CNN Tuesday night to discuss the past few days’ events with anchor Don Lemon. A rope fashioned into a noose was found in the fourth garage stall — Wallace’s garage stall — at Talladega on Sunday afternoon, leading to an FBI investigation that was concluded on Tuesday (June 23).
The investigation concluded that the way in which the rope was tied was not a hate crime, indicating that it had been there since last October, when the Cup Series last raced at the superspeedway.
Following the discovery, all drivers and crew members joined together in rolling Wallace’s No. 43 Chevrolet to the front of the grid on Monday afternoon, standing with Wallace in solidarity prior to the race.
Wallace elaborated on the hours since the FBI’s findings were announced. He has received both support and criticism from around the internet.
“I’m pissed,” Wallace said in the interview. “I’m mad because people are trying to test my character. They are trying to test my integrity. They’re not going to steal that away from me, but they’re trying to test that.”
"I'm pissed. I'm mad because people are trying to test my character. They are trying to test my integrity. They're not going to steal that away from me, but they're trying to test that." #NASCAR pic.twitter.com/3lAqpGvGnA
— Davey Segal (@DaveyCenter) June 24, 2020
“It was a noose,” he added. “It was a noose that whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. It wasn’t directed at me, but someone tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.”
Wallace also said that he’s never seen a garage pull tied in that fashion.
“I have been racing all my life and I have not seen a knot pull like that … it is a straight up noose,” he said, adding that he received evidence from his pit crew members.
Wallace added that NASCAR president Steve Phelps requested an in-person meeting with him on Sunday evening, and that the thought of a hate crime against Wallace had Phelps in tears.
Said it felt like the hardest thing Phelps had ever had to tell someone. "Tears going down his face that a hate crime" had been brought to him.
— Tom Bowles From Frontstretch.com (@NASCARBowles) June 24, 2020
Lemon commented on the situation, appearing optimistic that people would pardon the misunderstanding.
“Did they get it wrong? Somewhat,” he said. “But I think people will forgive NASCAR for their mistake because of the times we are in.”