The noose found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway had been there since at least last October and federal authorities have confirmed no charges will be filed.

tolWallace – the only African-American driver in NASCAR’s top series and a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter – was thought to have been the target of a racial attack.

Fellow drivers showed their support for Wallace by pushing his No 43 car to the front of the field at the Alabama speedway, in an act of solidarity with the 26-year-old ahead of the rain-delayed race on Monday.

However, U.S. Attorney Jay Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp Jr. have said its investigation determined although the noose is now known to have been in garage No 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Wallace would be assigned to that garage last week.

A crew member for Richard Petty Motorsports, who Wallace drives for, discovered the noose on Sunday at the Alabama race track.

NASCAR was alerted and contacted the FBI, but they have determined no federal crime was committed.

“On Monday, 15 FBI special agents conducted numerous interviews regarding the situation at Talladega Superspeedway,” Town and Sharp Jr. said in a joint statement.

“After a thorough review of the facts and evidence surrounding this event, we have concluded that no federal crime was committed.

“The FBI learned that garage number 4, where the noose was found, was assigned to Bubba Wallace last week.

“The investigation also revealed evidence, including authentic video confirmed by NASCAR, that the noose found in garage number 4 was in that garage as early as October 2019.

“Although the noose is now known to have been in garage number 4 in 2019, nobody could have known Mr. Wallace would be assigned to garage number 4 last week.

“The decision not to pursue federal charges is proper after reviewing all available facts and all applicable federal laws. We offer our thanks to NASCAR, Mr. Wallace, and everyone who cooperated with this investigation.”

NASCAR said in a statement the FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall, well before the 43 teams arrival and garage assignment.

The Wood Brothers Racing team stated one of its employees informed the team he recalled seeing a tied handle in the garage pull down rope from last fall, when NASCAR raced at Talladega in October.

The team said it immediately alerted NASCAR and assisted the investigation.

Two weeks ago, Wallace successfully pushed for NASCAR to ban the contentious Confederate flag at its tracks and properties amid protests against the killing of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.

However, Wallace believes it is irrelevant when the noose was placed there, and has confirmed that NASCAR president Steve Phelps visited him at the truck on Sunday with “tears running down his face”.

“I wanted to make sure this wasn’t just a knot,” Wallace told CNN. “It was a noose. Whether it was tied in 2019 … it is a noose.

“The evidence he brought to me was that a hate crime has been committed, quote-on-quote.”

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