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NASCAR President vows those caught will be dealt with ‘severely’

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400

HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 18: NASCAR President Steve Phelps speaks to the media prior to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 18, 2018 in Homestead, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

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NASCAR President Steve Phelps vowed Monday that those responsible for putting a noose in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace’s team at Talladega Superspeedway will be “caught and dealt with swiftly and severely.”

Phelps said he informed Wallace of the noose, which was discovered by a member of Wallace’s Richard Petty Motorsports team on Sunday. NASCAR was informed and contacted the FBI office in Birmingham, Alabama. Phelps said the FBI was at the track Monday.

“This is a difficult time for our sport but we are going to react swiftly and again we’re going to use all the means, resources at our disposal and of those of the FBI to make sure this person or persons are caught and dealt with swiftly and severely,” Phelps said in a teleconference with reporters.

“There’s no room for this at all and we won’t tolerate it.”

MORE: Alabama Governor “appalled” at “vile act” against Bubba Wallace

MORE: Federal authorities investigating noose found in Bubba Wallace’s garage stall

Phelps said those caught would be banned from the sport for life.
“We have a very small number of people that are in the footprint (of the garage area), only essential personnel there,” Phelps said. “Obviously we’ll review the entire list with the FBI about who had access at that particular time.”

Phelps said that since the investigation was ongoing, he couldn’t provide many details, such as how many cameras are in the garage area, what they may have shown and where the noose came from.

Desiree Wallace, mother of Bubba Wallace, told Joe Madison on SiriusXM’s Urban View “The Joe Madison Show” on Monday that while there were video cameras in the garage, “but there not cameras were the noose was hung.”

She told Madison that Wallace FaceTimed her about what happened on Sunday.

“At first he looked defeated…and I said, ‘Look, that was an act of fear,’ ” she said on SiriusXM. “I said they’re more afraid of you than you are of them. I said it was a cowardly act. I said and, at the end of the day, you don’t allow them to strip away your character or your integrity.”

As Phelps talked to reporters Monday afternoon, he turned angry at the notion that the noose was staged.
“I would say that is something that personally offends me,” Phelps said. “This is a terrible, terrible act that has happened. For those who would think that this is staged, I wouldn’t know where to go with that.”

Phelps said that NASCAR has provided Wallace’s extra security. Wallace was at the forefront of NASCAR banning the Confederate flag, calling for it two days before NASCAR did so.

“We want to make sure that Bubba is safe, and we have stepped up security,” Phelps said. “This is a family that needs to take care one of its family members who has been attacked. We will firmly support as an industry, as a family and a community, to make sure Bubba and everyone else in this sport is safe.”

The drivers are expected to stand with Wallace during the national anthem, showing unity with him.

“The drivers feel very strongly that they want to show their support of Bubba,” Phelps said. “He’s a member of the NASCAR community. He’s a member of the NASCAR family. The outpouring of support over the last couple weeks from our drivers, from the industry as a whole, from the fans, has been phenomenal. Whatever happens, it’s going to happen organically. It will be heartfelt. I’m looking forward to whatever they come up with.”