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NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace 'relieved' FBI investigation didn't reveal hate crime

NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace 'relieved' FBI investigation didn't reveal hate crime
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace led a successful push to ban the Confederate flag at NASCAR events and properties less than two weeks ago. Photo courtesy of Bubba Wallace/Twitter

June 24 (UPI) -- NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace issued a statement Wednesday in response to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's recent probe, saying he was thankful that a pull rope fashioned like a noose wasn't directed at him.

"It's been an emotional few days," Wallace said in his statement. "First off, I want to say how relieved I am that the investigation revealed that this wasn't what we feared it was. I want to thank my team, NASCAR and the FBI for acting swiftly and treating this as a real threat.

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"I think we'll gladly take a little embarrassment over what the alternatives could have been. Make no mistake, though some will try, this should not detract from the show of unity we had on Monday, and the progress we've made as a sport to be a more welcoming environment for all."

On Tuesday, the FBI determined that Wallace -- the only black driver in the Cup Series -- wasn't the victim of a hate crime after a rope fashioned like a noose was discovered in his garage stall Sunday at Talladega Superspeedway.

RELATED FBI: NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace not victim of hate crime

The FBI report concluded that the pull rope had been on a garage door at the central Alabama racetrack since as early as October.

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"The FBI report concludes, and photographic evidence confirms, that the garage door pull rope fashioned like a noose had been positioned there since as early as last fall," NASCAR said in a statement Tuesday. "This was obviously well before the 43 team's arrival and garage assignment.

"We appreciate the FBI's quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba. We remain steadfast in our commitment to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for all who love racing."

RELATED Bubba Wallace says he 'won' at Talladega despite 14th-place finish, gas mistake

Before Sunday's incident, Wallace led a successful push to ban the Confederate flag at NASCAR events and properties.

Wallace ranks 21st in the Cup Series standings with a pair of top-10 finishes in 13 starts.

RELATED NASCAR drivers show support for Bubba Wallace after noose incident

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