NASCAR Driver Kyle Larson Suspended, Dropped By Sponsors After Racial Slurs
During a live stream of an online car race he was competing in over the weekend, NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was reportedly caught using a racial slur.
Larson, along with several other NASCAR drivers came together in an unofficial iRacing event organized by Landon Cassill on a virtual version of the historic oval track in Monza, Italy.
During the race, a pop-up message indicated that Larson was the one speaking when someone could be heard saying “you can’t hear me? Hey, n—-r.”
NASCAR XFinity Series driver Anthony Alfredo can then be heard saying, “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.” Aron MacEchern followed it up with, “Yep, we heard that.”
Following the suspension announcements, Larson tweeted a video apologizing for the slur:
“Hey, I just wanna say I’m sorry. Last night I made a mistake and said the word that never, ever should be said, and there’s no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way, you know, it’s just an awful thing to say. I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community and especially the African American community. You know, I understand the damage is probably unrepairable and I own up to that,” Larson said.
iRacing also suspended Larson from its racing platform, citing its policies on offensive behavior and language.
It’s unclear who Larson was directing the comment at. Chip Ganassi Racing is ending its relationship with Kyle Larson. Chip Ganassi Racing had initially announced a suspension without pay for Larson, before deciding to sever its ties with the driver, who has been with the team since 2013.
“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event. The words he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay while we work through this situation with all appropriate parties.”
After investigating Larson’s comments, NASCAR announced it was suspending Larson from the series indefinitely saying:
“NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event,” NASCAR said in a press release “Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base.”
Larson’s sponsors, McDonald’s, Credit One Bank, Clover and Chevrolet all denounced Larson’s language but will continue to work with Chip Ganassi Racing in other capacities.