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FBI and NASCAR Investigate Noose Found in Bubba Wallace's Garage

Bubba Wallace (Photo Credit: AP)

Bubba Wallace (Photo Credit: AP)

Bubba Wallace is the only Black driver in NASCAR's top series and a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter.

The FBI is reviewing the situation surrounding the noose that was found in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage to determine whether there are violations of federal law, the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama said on Monday.

As drivers prepared to return to the Talladega Superspeedway on Monday for a rain delayed race, NASCAR was also investigating the incident to try and find out the identity of the person who placed the noose in the garage on Sunday.

The only Black driver in NASCAR's top series and a vocal supporter of Black Lives Matter, Wallace was the target of a racial attack on Sunday when a noose, a symbol connected to lynching and America's slave history, was left in his team stall.

ALSO READ | NASCAR's Only Full-time Black Driver Bubba Wallace Faces Racist Attack after Noose Found in his Garage

The incident has rocked NASCAR but exploded beyond the sport when the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama confirmed that they, the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division were looking into the matter.

"Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society," U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town said in a statement.

NASCAR said the incident was a "a despicable act of racism and hatred" and added it would "eliminate" whoever was responsible from the sport.

Wallace was also one of the loudest voices in the push to have NASCAR remove the Confederate flag from tracks where it staged races.

In the wake of nationwide protests of racism, NASCAR announced earlier this month that Confederate flags would be prohibited from all events and properties.

Despite NASCAR's ruling, outside the Alabama track on Sunday there were still plenty of Confederate flags flying and merchandise for sale.

Prior to the race, a small plane flew above the superspeedway with a banner of the Confederate flag trailing another that read "DEFUND NASCAR."

Alabama governor Kay Ivey on Monday condemned the act and apologized to Wallace, a native of Mobile, calling the 26-year-old "one of us".

"I am shocked and appalled to hear of yesterday’s vile act against Bubba Wallace in Talladega - there is no place for this disgusting display of hatred in our state," said Ivey in a statement.

"Racism and threats of this nature will not be condoned nor tolerated, and I commit to assisting in any way possible to ensure that the person responsible for this is caught and punished."

NASCAR and the larger sporting world have rallied behind Wallace.

Los Angeles Lakers LeBron James was among the first tweeting: "Sickening! @BubbaWallace my brother! Know you don’t stand alone! I’m right here with you as well as every other athlete."

NASCAR was among the top-three trending topics on Twitter in the U.S. on Monday, with supporters of Wallace using the hashtag #IStandWithBubba.

The incident has not distracted Wallace who will be back in his car on Monday with legendary 82-year-old team owner Richard Petty reportedly making the trip to the track to support his driver despite the threat of the novel coronavirus.