(CBS News) - The FBI on Tuesday said the noose discovered in NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace’s garage over the weekend had been there since October 2019 and said it concluded that no crime had been committed.
In a joint statement, U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town and FBI Special Agent in Charge Johnnie Sharp, Jr. said, "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 noose was discovered Sunday in Wallace’s team’s stall at Talladega Superspeedway. Wallace is the only black full-time driver in NASCAR and helped lead the push to ban the Confederate flag from the organization’s future events.
Speaking with CNN's Don Lemon Tuesday night, Wallace said he never personally saw the noose and was simply reacting to what the head of NASCAR had told him about it. Having seen images of the rope after the fact, Wallace stated, "It's a straight up noose."
The investigations by the FBI and NASCAR concluded that the noose was a knot that could be used to pull the garage's door down more easily.
“I talked to my crew chief about it. ... I wanted to make sure we weren’t jumping the gun,” Wallace told Lemon. " ... It was a noose. Whether tied in 2019, or whatever, it was a noose. So, it wasn’t directed at me, but somebody tied a noose.”
In a statement, NASCAR said, “We appreciate the FBI’s quick and thorough investigation and are thankful to learn that this was not an intentional, racist act against Bubba.”
Prior to a race on Monday, fellow drivers and team members helped push Wallace's car to the front of the track.
Jimmie Johnson explained the gesture. "As everybody knows, this is such a big family in the garage area, and the news really has disturbed us all. We want justice, in a sense, and we want to know who and why," Johnson said. "Until all those [questions] are answered, we want to stand with our friend. We want to stand with Bubba."