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'The noose was real.' NASCAR details its investigation of Bubba Wallace's garage stall.

Alex Andrejev, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

NASCAR president Steve Phelps spoke with the media Thursday after the sanctioning body completed its investigation into the door pull shaped like a noose found Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway in the garage stall assigned to Bubba Wallace.

NASCAR released a photo of the noose shortly before Phelps spoke.

"As you can see from the photo, the noose was real," Phelps said. "As was our concern for Bubba."

While Phelps previously said he would not change anything about how NASCAR handled the investigation, he added Thursday that, "In hindsight, we should have -- I should have -- used the word 'alleged' in our statement."

"Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver," Phelps said. "We're living in a highly charged and emotional time. What we saw was a symbol of hate, and was only present in one area of the garage, that of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace."

NASCAR said it had officials sweep all of its garages across the country as part of the investigation, and found that only 11 of 1,684 stalls had pull-down ropes tied in a knot, and only one stall -- Wallace's -- had the rope fashioned like a noose.

 

Phelps also revealed further details of the investigation, including a timeline of when events occurred and what the sport will change going forward.

Phelps said that after the morning car inspection and prior to the race's 3 p.m. scheduled start time Sunday, a member of Wallace's team noticed the noose shape. Phelps said the sanctioning body received the report approximately an hour and a half later, and NASCAR security did a sweep of all 40 garage stalls to see if any other pull ropes were tied similarly, finding only the one in Wallace's garage tied like a noose.

That evening, NASCAR released the following statement:

"Late this afternoon, NASCAR was made aware that a noose was found in the garage stall of the 43 team. 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."

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