NASCAR has confirmed an FBI investigation is underway into a noose that was found in Bubba Wallace's garage at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday.
Late Sunday night, NASCAR announced it had launched an investigation into the discovery of a noose hanging in the garage stall of Wallace's team earlier in the day at Talladega Superspeedway in a targeted racist attack.
Wallace is the only full-time African American competitor in NASCAR's top series, and has proudly backed the Black Lives Matter movement since mass protesting began in the wake of the murder of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapolis.
In a teleconference NASCAR president Steve Phelps says his organisation contacted the FBI to launch an investigation into the incident on Monday morning.
"Late yesterday afternoon a crew member from the 43 team discovered a noose in the 43 garage stall," Phelps said. "That crew member informed NASCAR. NASCAR security got involved. I got a small group of senior leaders in the sport at NASCAR together to try to determine what the next steps would be.
"First thing was to launch an immediate investigation into this heinous act. As part of that, we this morning at 7:30 notified the Birmingham office of the FBI. They are currently on site. They've started their investigation.
"Obviously this is a very, very serious act. We take it as such. We will do everything in our power to make sure that whoever has committed this act comes to justice and comes to light and we rid this type of behaviour from our sport."
The FBI is on the property at Talladega Superspeedway and conducting an investigation. NASCAR says only "essential personnel" are in the garage working with the FBI to review who was in that particular area at the time of the incident.
When asked if there had been a security breach at the circuit Phelps said: "I can't say no for certain. The security around getting into the footprint is significant. As I'm sure you guys are aware, we have limited it just to essential personnel. Security is very tight getting in and out of the footprint. I can't speculate whether there would be a breach or not."
Phelps declined to go into specifics on cameras around the garage: "We're not going to get into the specifics about the number of cameras, what is on the cameras, how many. We will collect all that information. It will be obviously part of what the FBI is looking at. But too early to get into specifics around video usage or what we were able to capture on video.
"We're going to use every effort we can to determine who has done this, whether it's a single person or multiple people. I know that the director of the FBI has informed the Birmingham office to use all their resources to find out, as well, all the resources available to NASCAR, the FBI.
"The teams and drivers and anyone who would have any access to this have all said, 'Hey, we want to make sure we figure out who has done this vile act.'"
Alabama Governor Kay Ivey has issued a statement Monday, apologising to Wallace who is from Mobile, Alabama.
Before the race, drivers pushed Bubba Wallace's car down pit road and were accompanied by dozens of team members. They surrounded the No. 43 car and stood with a visibly emotional Wallace during pre-race ceremonies, while Richard Petty joined his driver in his first track appearance since the COVID-19 pandemic halted the NASCAR season.