Bubba Wallace said he’s glad NASCAR released an image of the garage pull rope tied into a noose that was found in his garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, but knows it won’t change everyone’s opinion of the incident.
An FBI investigation determined that the noose was present in the garage last October when no one could’ve known Wallace’s team would be assigned to it, but not before the entire NASCAR field put on a dramatic show of support for Wallace at the start of the Geico 500 on Monday.
“It wasn’t directed towards me or my family, but somebody still knows how to tie a noose. And whether they did it as a bad joke or not, who knows? But it was good for the public to see. It still won’t change most, or some people’s mind of me being a hoax, but it is what it is,” Wallace said during an online press conference on Friday.
Addressing criticism from some quarters that NASCAR’s initial response was over the top, President Steve Phelps said he wishes he had been less emotional when announcing the discovery, but would’ve followed the same course of action investigating it.
“You see what’s going on outside of the sport and the way we reacted to it, the way it was brought to my attention I thought it was done the right way,” Wallace said. “[Could we have] worded it differently? Sure, but you can’t let that slip up and be just ‘ah, it might be a mistake.’ I would encourage them to do the same thing over and over again.”
The Richard Petty Motorsports driver said he is “wore the hell out” and frustrated from all of the attention he’s been getting this week, but that he’s finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
“But I’m probably a fool for thinking that, because its 2020 and something else will happen probably tomorrow and I’ll be right back where we are.”
Wallace, who was instrumental in NASCAR’s recent ban on displays of the Confederate flag at its events, said people who want to fly it outside the tracks, as several did at Talladega, can do what they want.
“It’s their right to peaceful protest, my man, so, it’s part of it. But you won’t see them inside the race tracks where we’re having a good time with new the fans who purchased their tickets.”
“Outside, they’re just going to be making a lot of noise,” Wallace said. “It’s exactly what you see on the flip side of everything going on in cities as they peacefully protest, but you won’t see cops pepper-spraying them and shooting them with rubber bullets, will you?”
Wallace said there’s no guidebook for what he’s been going through, and that he’s learning how to deal with it as he goes along, but he has a message for people who take to social media to criticize people who find themselves in his position.
“The people that are sitting on the couch that have never done anything to their lives to be able to amount to something and they are jealous of your lifestyle, they’re just trying to throw hate, spew hate, and that’s unfortunate. But you just have to think you’re living in your own life and you don’t have time to worry about other people’s lives. So you shouldn’t let them dictate how you live your life. Live life to the fullest.”