U.S. Department of Justice officials are investigating what the popular U.S. race car series NASCAR called a “heinous act” after a noose was found in the team garage of Bubba Wallace, its only top-level Black driver.
The U.S. Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Alabama said in a statement Monday that it would work with the FBI and the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to review the situation.
"Regardless of whether federal charges can be brought, this type of action has no place in our society,” the statement read.
Wallace said he was “incredibly saddened” and added that the act is “a painful reminder of how much further we have to go as a society and how persistent we must be in the fight against racism.”
He stressed the need to advocate for a community that is welcoming to everyone, and said those involved in the sport “will not be deterred by the reprehensible actions of those who seek to spread hate.”
Wallace drew widespread support from other drivers for his push two weeks ago to get NASCAR to ban the presence of the confederate flag at its races.
NASCAR said in a statement it will do everything it can to identify who was responsible for the noose “and eliminate them from our sport.”
The incident happened at Talladega Superspeedway in the southern state of Alabama, which was scheduled to host a race Sunday before it was interrupted by rain.
Protesters on Saturday and Sunday drove cars and trucks flying the confederate flag on roads near the track.