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Steve Phelps Regrets NASCAR Didn’t Use ‘Alleged’ in Statement, Says People Calling Noose a Hoax Are Offensive

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

On Thursday, NASCAR President Steve Phelps conducted a roughly 30-minute conference call with the media to talk about the noose that was found in the garage at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday.

Moments before the teleconference started, NASCAR produced photo proof of the noose.

Phelps apologized for not being able to show a photo or answer questions about the incident before now, as an internal NASCAR investigation was still ongoing.

But the investigation has now been completed.

In the conference, Phelps also apologized greatly, not for how swiftly NASCAR acted, but for letting the emotion of the situation get to them. In their initial statement, Phelps wishes NASCAR would have used the word ‘alleged’ when describing the heinous act thought to have been done, but says that they will look at performing better the next time a situation like that arises.

According to Phelps, NASCAR has determined that the noose at the end of the garage pull down rope was not tied at the beginning of the race weekend last October at Talladega (the first race weekend for the newly installed garage buildings), but it was installed sometime during that race weekend. As such, the noose itself was not a hate crime directed at Bubba Wallace.

However, NASCAR still has questions for why an individual would tie a noose in the garage area. Unfortunately, NASCAR was unable to determine who tied the noose last October.

Phelps went on to detail that NASCAR has checked the 1,684 garage stalls across all of the tracks in NASCAR and they found only 11 garage pull ropes that had knots tied. Out of those 11, only one of the ropes had a noose tied on it — the one at Talladega in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall.

Phelps did say that going forward, NASCAR will conduct sweeps of the garage area to make sure this doesn’t happen again and they will be bolstering the amount of security cameras in the garage area.

As far as whether the noose was functional, Phelps said he wasn’t in a position to speculate as he only saw photos of the noose. But he said that he’s not a noose expert, but that an expert in nooses could probably figure it out from the photo.

As far as people who believe this incident was a hoax perpetrated by NASCAR to get extra coverage, Phelps says he feels those claims are, “Personally offensive.”

Phelps ended the conference call by again stressing that Bubba Wallace and the No. 43 Richard Petty Motorsports team had nothing to do with how the sanctioning body acted in the wake of the discovery of the noose and that they certainly aren’t the ones who tied the noose.

Phelps said that Wallace has incredible character and that he has been fighting for racial justice, and that Phelps and all of NASCAR should continue standing with Wallace.

This closes the book on one of the biggest misunderstandings in Motorsport history.

Toby Christie View All

Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.

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