One day after NASCAR said it would investigate an incident Sunday regarding a noose found in the garage of Bubba Wallace’s racing team at Talladega Superspeedway, the state of Alabama is launching its own investigation.
“The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama, FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division are reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law,” read a statement from Jay E. Town, U.S. Attorney for Alabama’s Northern District. “Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society.”
Wallace, the league’s only full-time Black driver, operates the No. 43 car. The Geico 500 race was scheduled for Sunday at Talladega, but weather has delayed the event to Monday. On Sunday, NASCAR immediately condemned the action.
“Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team,” the racing league said in a statement. “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.”
Wallace tweeted this following statement on Sunday: “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. Over the last several weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the support from people across the NASCAR industry including other drivers and team members in the garage. Together, our sport has made a commitment to driving real change and championing a 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. As my mother told me today, ‘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.”
Earlier this month, Wallace called for NASCAR to ban the confederate flag at its events. The league complied with that request.
“The presence of the confederate flag at NASCAR events runs contrary to our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all fans, our competitors and our industry,” the league said on June 10. “Bringing people together around a love for racing and the community that it creates is what makes our fans and sport special. The display of the confederate flag will be prohibited from all NASCAR events and properties.”