NASCAR president Steve Phelps held a conference call with media on Monday afternoon to address the noose found hanging in the garage stall of driver Bubba Wallace on Sunday. Phelps himself was the one to alert Wallace of the incident after a No. 43 crew member reported the noose to NASCAR. Monday’s conference call follows an official statement released by NASCAR late Sunday night.
During the call, Phelps stated that the Birmingham office of the FBI has been contacted and are on the ground at Talladega performing their own investigation. As a result, questions about cameras, and possibly incriminating content, could not be answered at this time. While Phelps could not completely rule out a breach of security, he reiterated that only essential personnel was granted access to the garage and pit area and that the list of said individuals has been turned over to the FBI.
When asked what the consequences will be once the perpetrator is determined, Phelps sternly stated that the individual(s) responsible would “unequivocally” be banned from NASCAR for life. “I don’t care who they are. They will not be here,” stated Phelps. As for those mumblings that the incident is staged, Phelps had this to say.
“I would say that is something that personally offends me. This is a terrible, terrible act that has happened and for those that would think this is staged, I don’t even know where to go with that.”
Near the end of the call, Phelps disclosed that the No. 43 crew was given permission to inspect the car for safety and that security will be tightened even further when the postponed GEICO 500 gets underway later Monday afternoon. Richard Petty, none by racing fans as “The King” made a statement in support of his driver, NASCAR’s first black full-time driver since Wendell Scott in 1971.
Phelps stated that “the other drivers feel very strongly that they want to support Bubba” before adding that showings of support will be organic. The race, postponed yesterday due to weather, will get underway at 3pm ET.Tags: Bubba Wallace, NASCAR, Talladega