The FBI is now reviewing a case in which a noose was found in the car garage of NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace -- the only Black driver in the sport's top series -- on Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.
Law enforcement officials said they are reviewing the situation to determine whether the act violates federal law while NASCAR conducts 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," U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a statement. "Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society."
NASCAR president Steve Phelps addressed the media Monday afternoon to provide details about NASCAR's investigation, although he noted the investigation is still in the "early stages."
Phelps said that a crew member from Wallace's No. 43 team discovered a noose in the team's garage stall late Sunday afternoon and informed the sanctioning body. The Sunday race at Talladega was scheduled for 3 p.m. but was postponed to Monday afternoon due to lightning and rain in the area. Drivers were never called to their cars.
NASCAR security then got involved and the sport's senior leaders met to determine next steps, Phelps said.
"The first thing was to launch an immediate investigation into this heinous act," Phelps said. "As part of that, (Monday) morning at 7:30, we notified the Birmingham office of the FBI, and they are currently on site and they started their investigation."
The FBI office in Birmingham referred The Observer to Town's statement and declined to elaborate further on the case when contacted for comment Monday morning.
Phelps said that part of the FBI's investigation includes looking at footage from the cameras located in the team garage, but he declined to reveal specifics about the number of cameras and what the footage showed. He also said that NASCAR is reviewing the list of limited individuals who had access to that area with the FBI.
"We have a very small number of people that are in the footprint," Phelps said, referring to the garage stall area. "Only essential personnel who was there."