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Kyle Larson Suspended Without Pay by Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR Following Racial Incident on iRacing

Update (5 p.m. ET): NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Kyle Larson.

“NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sundays iRacing event,” a NASCAR statement read. “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 addressed the incident on Twitter.

https://twitter.com/kylelarsonracin/status/1249732388625752065?s=21

Additionally, Larson’s sponsor, Credit One Bank, addressed the incident, saying that it supported the actions of NASCAR and CGR to suspend Larson. Chevrolet has done the same.

Later, Credit One confirmed it was terminating its sponsorship of Larson.

According to FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass, McDonald’s has also terminated its sponsorship of Larson.

Original story: When Kyle Larson spoke on his iRacing radio Sunday night (April 12), the driver didn’t realize he was speaking into an open channel, and that anyone listening could hear his remarks.

By Monday morning, Larson found himself suspended without pay at Chip Ganassi Racing for his choice of words.

Recordings of Larson’s radio clearly caught the NASCAR Cup Series driver saying a racial slur on the air, and at least one such recording made the social media rounds Sunday night. Larson tried to defuse the situation by saying he didn’t know his radio was streaming on Twitch at the time.

“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing event,” a statement from Chip Ganassi Racing read. “The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay.”

A NASCAR spokesperson has also confirmed that the sanctioning body is “aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information.”

NASCAR suspended Xfinity Series driver Jeremy Clements in 2013 for using a similar slur in an interview, despite the fact that the comment was not published. Clements was reinstated after completing sensitivity training.

As of Monday morning, Larson, who is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program, had not issued a statement.

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About Amy Henderson

Amy Henderson
Amy is a 15-year veteran writer and a five-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. Amy pens The Big 6 (Mondays) Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and Holding A Pretty Wheel (monthly - Fridays). A New Hampshire native living in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits extend everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports.

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15 comments

  1. Avatar

    Wow. All this over a word. Imagine if he had dome something that really harmed someone.

  2. Avatar

    and on a video game.

    guess he forgot about this driver code of conduct in his contract.

  3. Avatar

    Oh, come on! Everybody knows not to use that word, and if they don’t they’re not very bright (or observant). Also, if he said it once he’s said it before – probably many times. He’s only sorry because he got caught.

  4. Avatar

    I KNEW iRACING WOULD COME TO NO GOOD !!

  5. Avatar

    One more thing and worst of all…Larson’s behavior totally reinforces non-fans’ perceptions that our sport consists of southern rednecks who drive in circles and own pickup trucks flying confederate flags. To me that’s the worst part.

  6. Avatar

    I doubt there’s any righteous indignation. Perhaps self righteous virtue signaling…but I’m pretty sure someone we just celebrated said “let her who is without sin cast the first stone.” With the crappy corono-economy, they pounced on an opportunity to get rid of a high dollar contract.

  7. Avatar

    I really don’t think that’s his character and his being younger and not grown up during the rough and dangerous 60’s like I did, has no understanding the word means. However, we live in an age that people in the fishbowl have to have bowel movements that only produce jelly beans. People get offended. That’s reality. Had this been at a Saturday night bull ring in the South, it still would have caused him problems. But again, I do not think he has any concept of the word.
    I grew up around it, vaguely remembering “whites only” water coolers. Unfortunately for Kyle, he is too young to remember it.
    California has not been spared the effects of racial hatred, the Watts Riots and the aftermath of Rodney King come to mind. But I doubt if he was born when the latter happened.

    Time and perseverance have a way of healing all wounds.

    PS — I can’t stand Larsen as a driver or that Ganassi dude that owns the team.

  8. Avatar

    You can agree or not. Point is…he represents at all times his sponsors and his team. And he knows it! The fact that he used that tired stupid word says to me he uses it a lot in private. There is no privacy in your job, and private life especially when you sign on the dotted line all those wonderful moral clauses etc. I don’t feel sorry for him at all, I don’t think it was overblown. Maybe this if it truly goes south will allow his heart which seems to be dirt..to follow it. NASCAR does not seem to be his passion. IMO. Go to the dirt………….overhyped one. Others got their tail feathers smacked for much less too.

    • Avatar

      Pretty well said. Hard to feel sorry when someone making millions does something really stupid. And yes he represents his sponsors as well as the person who signs his paycheck 24/7.

      If he did try to cover it up that even makes it worse.
      But I’m sure there is a long line of folks willing to take his place.

  9. Avatar

    I find it interesting that often, those who claim to be on the morally correct side of an issue, are the ones who react the most cruelly with the most hate and anger. Do they not see this is counter-productive?

    Instead of being angry and cruel, why not take control of the emotions and feel sorry for the person who says it? Be sorry they are ignorant, be sorry they are hateful, be sorry they think it is appropriate or acceptable. Maybe sorry isn’t the right word… Maybe disappointed is better. Then perhaps instead of cruelly beating them down, reach out and help them learn and grow into a better human being. It’ll be a better experience for all, and the end result will be what is needed – less hate, anger and ignorance with more peace, acceptance and understanding.

    In my younger days I’ve said stupid stuff to people I was not meaning to offend. Fortunately, those people did not over-react and demand my head on a silver platter, but they did make sure I understood their disappointment in me and my words. Seeing the disappointment in their eyes was worse than losing any job I’ve ever had – I felt so small and ashamed. Those people, whom I had said horrible things to, responded without hate or anger and helped me grow and mature a great deal. I’m thankful they took it upon themselves to educate me, befriend me, and give me the opportunity to become a better person.

    I don’t know Kyle personally, but he doesn’t come across to me as someone who is truly a hate filled racist. I don’t think it’s worth destroying his life over at this point – teach him, forgive him, and put him back on the right path to becoming a better person instead of beating him down to destroy him.

  10. Avatar

    Hey McDonalds, why don’t you hold the A-hole in the White House to the same standard? You hypocritical piece of feces company who happens to donate tens of millions to elect Same with you Credit One.

    • Avatar

      Hey Bob, this is a NASCAR website. Not supposed to be talking politics. Why don’t you go back to your kneeling position and continue servicing Schumer. Don’t forget to wipe your chin once you’re finished.

      • Avatar

        Please practice what you preach.

        • Avatar

          What I preach:
          ” I am really sick of people taking little political pot shots at the president on a non-political NASCAR website and expecting people who feel differently to just let it slide. I will never let it slide. You want to start a downward spiraling, hyperbole based discussion on partisan politics? I am game and will make sure that happens whenever someone wants to throw out little political zingers on a supposedly NASCAR website.”

          Was I the one that called an elected official an A-hole? I did not start us on the slippery slope of politics but I’ll damn well finish it.