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Apparent noose found at Sonoma Raceway

Jeff Burton, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Steve Letarte react to the news that noose was found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega and how there's still ways to go for NASCAR, despite support from drivers.

An apparent noose was discovered this past weekend at Sonoma Raceway, according to Steve Page, the track’s president and general manager.

In a statement, Page said: “On Saturday, a Sonoma Raceway staff member discovered a piece of twine tied in what appeared to be a noose hanging from a tree on raceway property. Our staff, on-site business tenants and local law enforcement have been contacted and asked to share any information they may have. The incident is under investigation by the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department. Sonoma Raceway takes this incident very seriously and is dedicated to operating a facility that is welcoming to everyone.”

A spokesman for the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office issued the following information in a press release:

"(Monday) at 10:06 am, deputies responded to Sonoma Raceway after receiving a call that a noose was found hanging from a tree near the old administration building. The suspected noose was found on Saturday, June 20, at approximately 8:00 am by an employee. The Sheriff’s Office began investigating this incident as a possible hate crime.

“The quarter-inch thick rope was cut down by employees upon its discovery, then handed over to deputies yesterday (Monday). The tree branch was approximately 14 feet above the ground. The rope appeared to be weathered from being outside for an extended period.

“A Raceway tenant remembered seeing the rope hanging from the tree about 7 to 8 years ago after crashing a model airplane. It was not tied in a noose at that time.

“Violent Crimes detectives are looking through video surveillance footage for leads on a suspect. This is all the information we have right now.

“We are continuing to investigate this incident with the FBI and are committed to conducting a thorough investigation and trying to find the person(s) involved in this incident. We understand why this case is disturbing for many people. We take potential hate crimes very seriously and want everyone to feel safe in Sonoma County.”

Sonoma Raceway hosts a variety of racing events at its facility. It has hosted NASCAR Cup races from 1989-2019. This year’s Cup race at Sonoma was moved to Charlotte Motor Speedway because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The discovery came a day before a noose was found in the garage stall of Bubba Wallace’s team at Talladega Superspeedway. The FBI is investigating. NASCAR President Steve Phelps said Monday that those responsible will be “caught and dealt with swiftly and severely.”