(BBC) – Nascar said it was right to fear a hate crime had been committed against driver Bubba Wallace, which was later dismissed after an FBI investigation.
It concluded that the noose found in the team garage of Wallace last Sunday was actually a handle on a garage door and had been there since last year.
“Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our reaction was to protect Bubba,” said Nascar president Steve Phelps.
“We’re living in a highly charged and emotional time.”
The incident occurred during the Geico 500 at Talladega, Alabama. Wallace – the sport’s sole full-time black driver – received messages of solidarity from fellow Nascar drivers and sports stars around the world after the discovery.
Following the conclusion of the investigation, the 26-year-old said the image he saw of “what was hanging in my garage is not a garage pull”.
“It was a noose,” he told CNN. “Whether tied in 2019 or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me but somebody tied a noose. That’s what I’m saying.”
Nascar released a photo of the noose on Thursday. Phelps added: “As you can see from the photo, it was real, as was our concern for Bubba.
“With similar emotion, others across our industry and our media stood up to defend the Nascar family. Our Nascar family. Because they are part of the Nascar family, too. We are proud to see so many stand up for what’s right.”