The FBI has completed its investigation into an alleged hate crime against Bubba Wallace at Talladega Superspeedway.
Bubba Wallace has received support from around the sports world after a noose was found in his garage before Sunday’s race. However, per an FBI investigation, the alleged hate crime was a misunderstanding.
Wallace, the only NASCAR Black driver, has been at the forefront of the push to bring the sport into the 21st century, even leading the charge to ban the Confederate flag from all raceways. In response, he’s been praised from all corners of the sports world, but he’s still received hatred from one subset of fans that NASCAR has since distanced itself from. This is why Sunday’s incident was not only taken seriously, but treated with shock and dismay.
FBI’s investigation into Bubba Wallace hate crime claims noose had been in garage for years.
“On Monday, 15 FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway. After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed,” the statement read.
The FBI’s conclusion is all about timing. Wallace was assigned his specific garage last week, and NASCAR provided video in which the noose was clearly visible before that point. Essentially, there is no way anyone could have targeted Wallace with such a hideous crime, because they couldn’t have planned it that far in advance.
While the FBI has cleared any wrongdoing in this instance, NASCAR remains in an existential crisis, hoping to welcome new fans of all races to the sport, while fighting off a small subset of the old guard who have yet to move on from a losing cause.
At the very least, NASCAR and Wallace can move on from this event with a clean slate, assuming no new information is found.