When a noose was found in Bubba Wallace's stall at the Talladega Superspeedway, NASCAR strongly condemned the apparent hate crime and fellow drivers rallied around Wallace, the sport's only full-time African American driver. The FBI, however, now says the noose had been there for months, long before Wallace's team was assigned to the garage, and it does not believe the driver was the victim of a hate crime, ESPN reports. The FBI sent 15 agents to the Alabama track after a complaint from NASCAR Sunday. NASCAR said Tuesday that the FBI report, which was supported by photographic evidence, concluded 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."
The Woods Brothers Racing Team says one of its employees told the team he recalled "seeing a tied handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall" and they immediately contacted NASCAR to assist the investigation, the AP reports. The FBI says no federal charges will be filed. "We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba," NASCAR said in a statement, per USA Today. "We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing.” (Read more NASCAR stories.)