While the FBI investigation into the noose found in Darrell Wallace Jr.’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway is over, NASCAR’s own investigation is ongoing.
“We are continuing our portion of the investigation to try to determine why there was a rope fashioned into a noose, which obviously happened sometime last October, or before,” said NASCAR President Steve Phelps.
Phelps thanked the U.S. Attorney’s office and FBI for their thorough and swift work during a five-minute update to the media Tuesday night. He did not take questions.
“For us at NASCAR, this the best result we could hope for,” said Phelps. “It was disturbing to hear that one of our own had committed this heinous act. It is fantastic to hear from the FBI definitively that there was not a hate crime.
“If given the evidence that we had was delivered to us late Sunday afternoon, we would do this the same thing. We would have done the same investigation; it was important for us to do. There is no place in our sport for this type of racism or hatred; it’s not part of who we are as a sport.”
In assisting the FBI, NASCAR provided roster information as well as photographic and video evidence. Phelps emphasized that no one from Richard Petty Motorsports was involved in the incident. A crew member, not Wallace, discovered the noose Sunday during the rain delay of the GEICO 500, and NASCAR issued its statement to the media Sunday night.
“I want to be clear about the 43 team – the 43 team had nothing to do with this,” said Phelps. “The evidence is very clear that the noose that was in that garage had been in the garage previously. The last race we’d had there in October, that noose was present; and the fact that it was not found until a member of the 43 team came there is something that is a fact.
“We had not been back to the garage. It was a quick one-day show. The crew member went back in there, he saw the noose, brought it to the attention of his crew chief, who then went to the NASCAR series director Jay Fabian and we launched this investigation.
“To be clear, we would do this again. The evidence we had — it was clear we needed to look into this.”