Declaring “the noose was real,” NASCAR officials on Thursday released a photo of the rope found in the garage stall of Black driver Bubba Wallace that prompted a federal investigation that determined it had been there since last October. The incident has put racism front and center for the stock car series that two weeks ago banned the Confederate flag from its venues and races at Wallace’s urging. It also prompted criticism from some fans that NASCAR had somehow overreacted — criticism NASCAR has bristled at and cited in releasing the photo from Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.
The image was taken by NASCAR security. “As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba,” NASCAR President Steve Phelps said. “Based on the evidence we had, we thought our drivers — that one