NASCAR president Steve Phelps said an internal investigation into the noose found in Bubba Wallace's garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway last Sunday has been completed.
Phelps announced findings from NASCAR's investigation via teleconference on Thursday, two days after the FBI determined that Wallace – the only full-time black driver in NASCAR – was not the target of a hate crime.
Wallace has spoken out about racial injustice and racism in recent weeks, and helped push NASCAR to ban the Confederate flags from its races, events and properties.
"Upon learning of and seeing the noose, our initial reaction was to protect our driver," Phelps said. "We're living in a highly charged and emotional time.
"What we saw was a symbol of hate and was only present in one area of the garage and that was of the 43 car of Bubba Wallace. In hindsight, I should have used the word 'alleged' in our statement."
NASCAR released a photo on Thursday of the noose, which the FBI said had been positioned in the stall at Talladega since as early as last fall and was a garage door pull rope that had been fashioned like a noose.
"As you can see from the photo, the noose was real, as was our concern for Bubba," Phelps said.
NASCAR said it asked each of its 29 tracks to check their garages, and of over 1,684 stalls, only 11 had a pull-down rope tied in a knot. However, the only one that resembled a noose was discovered in Wallace's stall.
Wallace appeared on CNN on Tuesday after the FBI completed its investigation, saying he was upset by allegations of it being a hoax.
Phelps stood by Wallace on Thursday.
"Bubba Wallace and the 43 team had nothing to do with this. Bubba Wallace has done nothing but represent this sport with courage, class and dignity."