Bubba Wallace is thankful that a noose found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway wasn't intended for him, but he doesn't think the ensuing investigation was an overreaction.
"Are we hypersensitive to everything that's going on in the world now? Absolutely," Wallace, NASCAR's only Black full-time driver, told ESPN's First Take on Wednesday. "But if you were in my shoes -- and I doubt anybody could walk in my shoes, especially at this moment -- you would go down that route time and time again."
The FBI determined that Wallace was not the victim of a hate crime and that a pull rope fashioned like a noose had been on the garage door since as early as October. Wallace's crew noticed it this weekend.
"Yes, it was a garage pull for our stall at Talladega, but that was in the solid shape of a noose," Wallace said. "And when my guys seen that, when my crew member had seen that -- who happened to be African American -- he did his research first, and I was very proud of that. David Cropps -- a guy I'll stand by in any trenches, any day -- walked up and down the garages to make sure he wasn't overreacting. And when he seen that the other garage pulls were basically just a solid piece of rope, no knots in them, and we had a knot that was in the shape of a noose -- yeah, that calls [for an investigation]."
Wallace, an Alabama native who drives the No. 43 Chevrolet for racing icon Richard Petty, isn't happy that he had to be in the position to discover the rope.
Bubba Wallace confident NASCAR's push for diversity and inclusion will continue
Bubba Wallace is pleased with NASCAR's push for diversity and inclusion and is confident the movement will continue.
"Somebody knows. Whoever tied it knows how to tie a noose. And that's fine," Wallace said. "I don't know if they did it with hate in their heart or what as a joke, but it ended up being a misunderstanding, some will say. But unfortunately, I hate that I'm kinda on the bad end of the deal because of it, just because I was simply given information related to me and we went on with it."
Despite being saddened by the situation, Wallace is also thankful for the support he received from his team, other racers and NASCAR itself.
Wallace said he will continue to use his platform to push for inclusion in the sport.
"Is it gonna take years and years to get to a perfect world? Will it ever be a perfect world?" Wallace said. "Who the hell knows; probably not. But knowing that I have left an impact and left a legacy behind if I'm taken out tomorrow, or whatever it may be -- then I can do that peacefully, because I have helped educate a lot of my peers and a lot of my competitors."