WASHINGTON — On Sunday night, a rope fashioned like a noose was found hanging in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega. Wallace is the only African-American NASCAR driver.
After an FBI investigation, it was determined the noose had in fact been hanging in that stall since last October and was not put specifically in Bubba's stall this past weekend. While Bubba admits the investigation's results came as a relief, he said it doesn't take away from a bigger reality.
"Somebody still knows how to tie a noose and whether they did it as a bad joke or not, who knows," Wallace said. "But it was good for the public to see, and still won't change most people's minds of me being a hoax. But it is what it is. You've seen the numbers of garage stalls they inspected -- 11 have knots and one had a noose."
Wallace admits he got extremely emotional at how his colleagues and the NASCAR community rallied around him this week upon finding the noose in his garage stall.
"I think when you go through a lot, and I mask a lot of things and hold a lot in, it comes out at times like that," Wallace said.
All of this comes after Wallace spoke out several weeks ago about NASCAR's decision to ban the Confederate flag at races and tracks. Yet, just outside the track at Talladega people were protesting with their Confederate flags.
"You won't see them inside the race tracks with fans who are having a good time, who have purchased their tickets, purchased their favorite drivers gear, you won't see it flying in there," Wallace said. "Outside they are just going to be making a lot of noise."
Wallace says change needs to happen in this country and within this sport.
"It's exactly what you're seeing on the flip side of what's going on in cities where they peacefully protest," Wallace said. "But you won't see cops pepper-spraying them and shooting them with rubber bullets, will you?!"
While he will continue to speak out and be a voice for those who don't have a platform big enough to speak from, he also wants to turn the focus back on racing.
"Let's get new fans out to the race track and encourage our fan base now to welcome them with open arms and show them a good time," Wallace said. "Focus on how we can push the message of love, compassion, understanding, and let's fight the good fight in what's going on in the world today.