NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Kyle Larson Won, But NASCAR Goes In Circles

People lose their jobs all the time for all kinds of reasons.  Many of these firings are for good reasons – like perpetrating an upper decker in a small office bathroom or writing that the boss is a stupid orangutan in lipstick across a window.  These do not seem like positive workplace behaviors.

To lose a job because of reprehensible actions is kind of how the system works for most people.  For people in the public eye, the situation becomes more challenging, with corporate backing and bosses with influence in different arenas choosing the best method for damage control and the best way to proceed.

When Kyle Larson uttered his now infamous and unfortunate epithet during an iRacing event, the way forward appeared obvious.  With his sponsors dropping him as quick as they could check with their legal departments, Chip Ganassi followed, and soon Larson became persona non grata.

Larson, however, fell upward.  After disappearing from NASCAR, he returned to his racing roots and scored 46 wins on the dirt tracks of the country.  The talent was never so apparent and the judgment so curious.

During the offseason he scored a ride with Hendrick Motorsports, landing a top-tier ride and winding up with the very team that many people thought he would when his contract ended with CGR.

Larson won this past weekend at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in his fourth race since returning from his NASCAR exile.

Brad Keselowski stated, “I think everybody loves a good redemption story. He’s fought really hard for his opportunity to come back. I told him I wanted to win the damn race. But if I couldn’t, I’m glad he did. We’ve all been kind of pulling for him.”

For some people, the win looked like redemption, like Larson has served his penance and was made whole by crossing the finish-line first in an auto race.

Such thinking is disappointing, myopic, and off-target.  Larson did not redeem himself.  He was not saved from sin or evil because he won a race.  He did not regain something from his victory, paying any kind of debt with his accomplishment.

What Larson did was make good on his talent that everyone seems to recognize that he has anyway.  What Larson did was create a feel-good story of someone making the most of an opportunity that presented itself.  It is difficult to even call Larson’s win some kind of comeback.

Prior to losing his ride for his mistake, Larson drove for a pretty solid team that saw its second driver, Kurt Busch, roll into the playoffs.  While Chip Ganassi racing might not be Hendrick Motorsports, his new home, it is also not a team struggling to make the field each and tallies finishes in the 30s each week.

None of these remarks are an indictment on Larson.  In fact, Larson has shown real remorse for his lapse in judgment.  When Larson broke his media silence last August, he detailed the ways that he has tried to rectify his mistake.

In many ways, the piece authored by Jenna Fryer looked like it had been sculpted from a PR team.  Larson came across as contrite and the work he was doing was widespread.  Even if that element were in play, Larson still came across as a person working to improve himself and to examine his actions.

That’s where all of this becomes so important.  While Larson may be doing the hard work, the sport has often shown little action in making necessary changes.

Consider the fact that Johnny Reb rode into victory circle on the hood of the winner’s car for so many years at Darlington’s Rebel 500.  The imagery of a Confederate soldier joyously celebrating each winner does not provide the best sort of picture to offer to everyone.

Combine that element with things like what had been the omnipresence of the Confederate Flag, the treatment of African American drivers like Wendell Scott and Bill Lester, and the sport looks tone-deaf.  Then there was Mauricia Grant’s departure from the series, the African American official that filed a lawsuit against NASCAR for its racist treatment against her and settled out of court.  The sum total of these events offers a sweeping indifference and frequently hostile treatment toward African Americans.

When Larson won, he did not change the narrative.  In fact, all he did was make himself look good and allow people in the sport a method of putting the whole ordeal in the rearview.  Larson is now in the playoffs and Hendrick can count more money and the sport can act like it did something.  But it did so little.

In Formula 1, the sole Black driver, Lewis Hamilton has been pushing for reform.  He irks his bosses and makes people uncomfortable by wearing T-shirts that memorialize Breonna Taylor or address racism head-on.  He led the charge to have the drivers address equality at the beginning of each race last season.  Even more so, he called out his own sport.

Hamilton criticized the whiteness in F1, how all the bosses are White, and questioned the status quo.  He sought to bring about a discussion regarding the sport’s questionable attitudes toward racism.  Hamilton may not have always been eloquent in his approach but being an orator is not what this was about – he was attempting to use his social capital to bring about change.  Coming from a driver that has faced consistent racism during his career, his voice is the one that certainly holds the most merit, the cache of championships only help in supporting his cause.

Larson, unfortunately, did not speak of racism after the win.  He did not speak about George Floyd or Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery.  And that’s just how NASCAR would like it.  Many of the fans do not want to be confronted with such names or the issue, instead hoping for a ‘stick to sports’ mantra.

But sports do not happen in a vacuum.  NASCAR is a product of Southern culture which is a part of American culture; it is a byproduct of all the systems and biases that exist outside of itself.  Sponsors are not beholden to just stay in NASCAR, they are nationwide and international.

When Hamilton speaks out, one can imagine that people involved in the sport hold their breath.  In NASCAR, no one needs to worry.  Larson fits right back in to the mold that NASCAR has championed – clean cut male who thanks his sponsors, offers comments about the race and likely thanks God in some capacity. This whole thing is a cycle that will repeat itself, with another young driver making a similar error.

Larson may have found ways to expand his views, may have found ways to help those in need – like with his establishment of the Drive for Five charity – and may have found new inner peace, but this past Sunday all he did was find Victory Lane.

There was no redemption, just racing.

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Rick Coltman

Have you ever heard of “FORGIVE and FORGET.” Kyle Larson has more then apologized for his errors. One year has gone by and we are tired of hearing people like you drag this issue though the media, every time you get the chance.
As for the African American people who have made the effort to get an education and succeed in life, hats off to them, and there are a lot of African Americans, both male and female who have put the effort in to make themselves successful. They don’t make excuses for their situations. They take pride in their accomplishments.
Unlike the George Floyds and the many others, who seem to think that society owes them a life or that they can do as they want without paying the consequences for their actions. If they chose to ignore the commands of law officers and not comply to their commands then they get what’s coming. They have no one to blame but themselves for the actions that they have taken. This statement might not apply to all of the cases but in a lot of them it does. That’s the sad thing about it, both the police and the culprits are scare when these things occur. The out come most of the time is generally not good.
However, I keep reading things that do nothing but feed on these issues and think of how it has a negative reaction to what you are trying to accomplish. I have watched the African American plight since the 1960″s and there has been little chance since then. The BLM movement is pretty much the same as MLK’s movements of the 60’s they want to bring the injustices of their people to the forefront, they want equality for their people an equal opportunity to work and live . Understandable who would not want that. Good for them, good to see it, hope they can get there. It starts with an education, pride in what you do , pride in yourself and family. Start there.
Every time people like you, use the things like what happened to George Floyd or Kyle Larson, as a wiping post, you do nothing but fan the flames of racisms. It has no real good purpose, it cerates more anger, more hate by others. If not kept in check you will have those race riot’s that seem to come with these issues. Eventually race wars. So careful how you fan the flames or this will occur.

Thank you Rick Coltman

Johnny Cuda

Amen.

Bob

Certainly agree with you. All that article did was to fan the flames again.

Diane Y Lima

Beautifully written. I agree totally. Leave Kyle alone!!! It’s not a free ride folks, we are all human.We do and say stuff that aren’t right. People change, people grow. Everyone deserves a second chance to improve themself. No one is without sin.

Dave

Agree completely!

JD

Yes, a writer for racing that has NEVER been to a race, lives on an island!!!! Yes, that is someone worthwhile to read, (extreme sarcasm) what a joke that they even let her write on this website! Hopefully she will experience this cancel culture in full force and we will see how she comes through, I would bet no where as well as Kyle Larson.

Dawn Ryss

Thank you Mr Coleman. Ms. Ladner. you definitely were way off base on your article. Nascar has really tried to put changes in place to show they want to change their image and embrace diversity. Lets enjoy the sport.

Paul M OHara

I totally agree Rick well said. I read this article and tried to figure out what would make this writer happy. Would she be happier if NASCAR was the NBA and the only millionaire athletes were black. I disagree that there has not been progress we just recently finished a time when a Black Man was President of the United States.

Ted

Well Said !!

Russell

Well said and thank you for your take on this

Suni

Exactly

Justin William Barnes

And of course, the top response is basically 1350. Comments like this prove the articles point and is likely what will kill the sport.

Derrick

Not even close. You and this worthless author will never be happy. All this wokeness is what will kill the sport.

Michael Dobyns

AMEN TO THAT!!!

Richard Leffingwell

Spot on! MLK said judge a man by his CONTENT, not his content. This country offers ALL an equal opportunity, but results are each person’s PERSONAL responsibility. There is, and should not be ,a short cut for anyone to results!

Sherri Lovely

That was a great piece of writing an oh so right on. Thank you for it.

paltex

ENOUGH ALREADY. PUT IT TO REST.. CANCEL CULTURE IS JUST ANOTHER METHOD TO RUIN THIS GREAT COUNTRY. I’M OLD, SEEN A LOT, BUT NEVER AN EFFORT TO KILL THIS COUNTRY. SO SAD. HOPE SOME OF YOU YOUNG PEOPLE GROW A BACK BONE AND STAND UP TO THIS FOOLISHESS. nascar better watch out, their actions may wreck their series

Leslie cole

Right on!

Mark s kostyal

Very true and thanks .

Mark s kostyal

All this political correctness is ruining what use to be a good sport .

rg72

Was Kyle Larson involved in a murder, domestic violence or impaired driving among other sins? No.
I would suspect all of us, including author of this and similar hit pieces, have uttered something derogatory at one time in our lives. Most of us presumably have not been involved in the situations mentioned above where actual harm is done.

Bill B

So what exactly are you asking NASCAR to do?

Johnny Reb is gone (as far as I know), they’ve banned confederate flags, and Lester and Scott were racing in the last century and other than apologize there is no way to undo what was done.

What is happening right now that you want to see NASCAR address and how do you want them to address it? You obviously must have something in mind based on this article.

Michael Dobyns

No…
She’s just another liberal fanning the flames of racism.

Derrick G

Exactly. She even looks like one.

David Russell Edwards

I was surprised that the article laid out the basics of the Larson story.
Thought the loast sentence summed it up pretty well. Everyone went through the motions, and the people who want to get paid will be.
But.
“There was no redemption, just racing.”

janice

my take on the larson thing is he was participating in a fancy video game, made a comment, the wrong one, got in trouble, lost his job, did what he had to do to “come back” in the eyes of nascar (just as the drivers/crew chiefs who have been busted for illegal substances use), ran in another series, which he moonlighted in all while in his first encounter with nascar, and team picked him which wasn’t worried about losing sponsor dollars, as the team was unfunded and owner has paid for the sponsorship out of his own pocket.

we can’t erase history, even in real life. we can learn from it and grown from it. things that have happened over the past summer, and in the past, aren’t good.

na$car needs to step away from politics and all the craziness about offending people. i mean to say that disney movies produced decades ago offend people. some one (or group) has way too much time on their hands.

i’m tired of all this. i watch racing and other things on tv to get away from it, and i’m old enough to decide if something offends me or not. i live as i was taught, which is based on the 10 commandments and values that were instilled into me while growing up. growing up in the 60’s and 70’s was a turbulent time, but come on,

Johnny Cuda

Agree!

Leslie

Amen

Scott

What a dumb article, a complete waist of my time. You never made a point and it’s clear we don’t won’t to hear about BLM after a driver wins a race. You sound more like a socialist than a journalist.

Ed C

What are you so angry about?

WJW Motorsports

I saw just recently a young driver make a mistake while racing online by using a derogatory term (which BTW was nearly the “standard” term for decades) for the developmentally disabled. The driver was not fired, did not lose sponsors and the story was barely even covered by the “media”. Why is that? The PC rulebook is as opaque and arbitrary as the NASCAR rulebook.

Sean

This is a horrible take. Kyle made a “mistake” said something he shouldn’t have. However, Do I need to give you a rock to throw through your glass house you apparently live in?
People make mistakes and the great thing about this country we live in is second chances are given. This idea of “cancel culture” is sick and frankly anti American. The double standard and the idea someone can be erased for a mistake is sickening.

Fed Up

Get back to us with your hand-wringing ethos when Rap music is cleaned up.

Lauren

Wow. So much vitriol. It’s almost like the Trumpsters hit this page instead of the Capitol. I do not totally agree with the article but at the same time, for the sport to grow, it must progress. Gone are the days of young, white men waiting anxiously for their first car. Gone are the days where you could have a stars and bars license plate at high school (as I did). Gone are the days where young ladies are meant to be seen and not heard. So to, gone are the days where racial injustice and inequality have a place in NASCAR. Gone also are the days where church on Sunday, cussing on Monday and beating your wife Tuesday night because the meatloaf was bad ARE acceptable. They never are nor were in the eyes of the Almighty many of you proclaim to be King. Neither will paying porn stars–still sending me emails asking for donations to line your billion dollar coffers or spreading lies ever be acceptable. Now, Jesus spends a lot of time with sinners in the gospels but never does he spend company with liars. Spreading lies and fear is what Satan does.
Either way, Larson deserves a second chance–and who wouldn’t want to fit in when you are in the position he is in? He’s half Japanese, many of you forget our great country interred many like him during World War II–UNFAIRLY. He simply made a mistake and paid for it. Now has found a second chance. Yep, it was JUST racing but that is what he is paid to do, right? For all we know, Hendrick could be simply paying him purse money since he is effectively self-sponsoring the kid.
Point is this: I come to read articles good or bad. Many of you commenting should take your vitriol elsewhere unless you can make an informed, educated (use multiple sources, not Fox News or Tucker Carlson) and say something good. The article is well-written magazine journalism and personally, the points made are all valid from an information standpoint.

Bill B

Vitriol!!!???

I had to read through all the comments to find this vitriol you speak off and I couldn’t find it. I will agree that one of the comments above strayed into that territory (maybe two) but the rest seem like valid questions/points. Just because someone’s point of view differs from yours doesn’t necessarily make it vitriol.

Do you even know what vitriol means? Definition: cruel and bitter criticism.

Steve R

I find it strange that Larson was thrown out of NASCAR for saying the N-word at an I-racing event, By contrast Jeremy Clements called another driver who cut him off the N-word on live TV during a NASCAR event, but NASCAR just suspended him for 2 races, Now someone go ahead and explain that, Is it the fact that Clements is white and Larson is not, Because that is just what it looks like

Shayne Flaherty

I figured out a long time ago that freedom of speech is not “free”.
I’m retired now. I don’t have to worry about a job, social media status, or a slip of the tongue. I can speak my mind and not be afraid of the consequences.
Most importantly, I’ve almost figured out when not to exercise my freedom of speech.

Jo

“Freedom of speech” is guranteed by the Constitution only as it applies to the federal government (and by the 14th Amendment extended to the States). I wish all you “freedom fighters” would actually read and understand the Constitution. Private organizations have every right to restrict the speech and actions of their employees, contractors and those associated with their business. If NASCAR or your social media company finds your speech offensive, it can suspend, fire you or ban you from participation. So, no, you still cannot “speak your mind without consequences.” Just ask those you follow who have been banned from Twitter and Facebook for posting lies and inflammatory speech.

yourmother

Typical. Lilly white limousine liberal nonsense. I won’t be bothered to waste a bunch of time critiquing this drivel, but a couple points of order are to be made. One, Lewis Hamilton is not black. He is mulatto. It is long past time to stop ignoring that these “black” heroes, such as obama, hamilton, and darrell wallace are all half white. So when you refer to them as black, you are admitting that it really is all about skin color. You should be ashamed.

Two: get over it. Larson was punished for something that caused no harm far more than some people have for murder. And yes, nobody, and I mean absolutely nobody, was hurt in any way, shape or form by his (not) “action.” Do you see how stupid you are making yourself look? Of course not. Otherwise you wouldn’t dare put your face and name on this garbage. But rest assured, the rest of us do.

Jo

Funny that racists now consider those Black persons with some white heritage to be “not Black,” when the racial laws of the past considered anyone with a drop of “Negro blood” to be Black. The terms change, but racism remains. I’m just glad you’re not my mother.

And just be aware, that very few American Blacks are “pure Black,” as many of them came to have white blood from the slave masters who raped their ancestors.

sick of all the bullsh*t

Oh Jo honey…I think you need to get to your “safe space”

Jo

@Sick, maybe you and “yourmother” should take your white sheets and get together. You only are in a “safe space” online or with your own kind.

Al Torney

Number one I won’t be reading this person’s articles anymore. The Larson story is old news. Time for it to fade away.
Making the statement about Ganassi making every race like it was an accomplishment was sort of dumb. Ganassi has a charter. He can bring a donkey to the race and be qualified.
The majority of fans felt Kyle’s punishment did not fit the crime. Fans turned out in record numbers during Pa. Speedweek Sprint Car races last summer. And there was no doubt Larson was the reason.
He actually redeemed himself when he completed the requirements to be re-instated. What he proved Sunday was that he is a good race car driver who can win in any type of car.

Jim Clark

George Floyd: career criminal who once held a gun to a pregnant Latina woman’s head while his gang robbed his place. Tried to avoid being arrested for counterfeiting in a city and state run by Democrats for decades by swallowing Fetanyl: too much; hence “I can’t breathe” an iverdose death

Breanna Taylor. A corpse was found in the trunk of her car. Her drug dealer boyfriend opened fire on police after they identified themselves and she got caught in the crossfire.

Let’s not forget how many media members just automatically assumed that noose in Talledega story when a quick internet search found a similar noose in an Oakland park was an exercise rope left by a Black man and a noose in the bronx turned out to be a pinata from a Latin family. But real journalism is as rare as whales in the Sahara desert.

Lewis Hamilton victim of racism? Please. McLaren sponsored him for years. A crybaby the year Nico Rosberg beat him out of a championship; no class. That’s like when Evander Kane in the NHL claimed he was the victim. It turned out it was casinos wanting the $1,000,000 he owned them.

Larson was suspended a year for using language that you can find in hundreds of rap song by black singers the last 40 years.

WJW Motorsports

Yep, and Hailee Deegan’s offense was basically ignored. Why? (Hint – I know the answer but asked the question above to see if the good professor might indulge me with (gender related pronoun omitted to avoid getting “cancelled”) thoughts on the subject. I’m impressed your post has survived, as I’ve brought up the same point a few different times on this site only to be censored. I think we need to claw back every single nickel ever made on a piece of entertainment content that includes the word. Then they can use that $ for their reparations (or perhaps to house, clothe, feed, and educate the thousands now strolling through what was once the border to a formerly great nation).

Dominic J Susini

Well said Jim
Thanks for remembering the facts
Enjoy reading articles with proper perspective

JenMarie

For years the players on most adult gaming sites have been using the “n” word regularly. Many gamers also love rap music which uses the “n” word regularly. The “n” word amongst the generations of gamers, rappers and fans of rap music doesn’t translate to a derogatory inference in its context. Therefore, your written article is fruitless.

Edmond Camp

I find it strange everybody talks about Kyle Larson being a racist when he himself is oriental. I’m sure he’s had his share of discrimination. He said one word he shouldn’t have and they wanted to crucify him for it.
I hear drivers and crew chiefs etc using God’s name in vain and using all kind of profanity and vulgarity and as a Christian I’m offended but NASCAR doesn’t seem to care about that.
No I don’t approve of what Kyle said but what’s he suppose to do every time he wins a race say oh yes and I would like to apologize for what I said that time. Hasn’t anybody ever heard of getting on with their life.
It’s just like when Hulk Hogan was heard using the N word over and over the late Joe Laurenitis ( Road warrior animal) said Hogan didn’t say anything that any of the rest of us both black and white had said in the back (dressing room).
If a black person had used the word honky the media would be laughing about it. There’s a double standard here. Kyle didn’t threaten to kill a black person or say he supported the kkk but in a moment of passion made a mistake. I have a black friend that said we call each other that and I’ve worked in factories where a black man and a white man would go on with each other and call each other all kind of names and yes the N word but if one of them got sick the other would go around trying to take up money for him because regardless of what they called each other at the end of the day they were friends. So all this article does is poor fuel on the fire of racism.

Jo

This is a terrific article, but it was doomed to fall on deaf ears with most of this audience. NASCAR fans, especially those who identify themselves as “old-time fans,” just wrap themselves in the Confederate flag and the Bible (or what they believe is in the Bible) and fail to recognize the issue of institutional racism.

It is absolutely true that Kyle Larson lost nothing from his use of a racial epithet and that he didn’t “redeem himself” by winning a NASCAR race, any more than he did by winning all those dirt races last year. If anything, he has been rewarded with a better ride and a bigger fan base, inflated by the most racist followers of NASCAR.

For the record, I am often irritated by the non-stop coverage of Bubba Wallace, but I am actually disgusted by lifting Kyle Larson up to be some kind of “Great White Hope” because of what he did last year. And no, I don’t believe Larson is a racist, but I do believe he benefitted from his use of a racial slur, and I hate it that the NASCAR press has largely failed to acknowledge that.

JD in NC

There’s no doubt that Larson is in a better competitive situation than he was before his suspension. He had been extremely loyal to Chip Ganassi to the point that it was likely detrimental to his career. And I won’t claim that there are no racist fans in NASCAR, but there are also racist fans in the NFL, NBA, MLB, F1 etc.
However, I don’t think that he has a gained an increased fan base populated by “the most racist followers of NASCAR” as you claim. It’s not like he used the racial slur in a situation where it was directed at a person of color with malicious intent. In the context in which Larson used the word, he could have (and should have) said “Hey (buddy/man/dude).” Not really the type of thing to convince an ardent racist to say “that Larson’s my guy now!”
In the same vein, I don’t see him being held up as some kind of “Great White Hope” because he really is no whiter than Bubba Wallace. I think what you do see is a lot of race fans glad to see a very talented wheelman make good on a second chance after committing a stupid (albeit a non-malicious) mistake.

Coop

It is ABSOLUTELY not true Kyle lost nothing.
He lost 4.5 to 9 Million in Salary and Advertising Dollars.
It is also NOT TRUE that he gained a better ride because of this.
He was at the end of his contract at the end of 2020 and was expected to sign with Hendrick or Stewart- Haas racing.
Because of his use of a Racial word, he still didn’t sign for nearly what he could have if this never happened.
So, he did lose quite a bit financially, but he did gain a lot in Social awareness.
What he didn’t lose was total being cancelled like a lot is SJW wanted.
And Jo, what is the real bible?

Roger

Thank you Michael. Just wondering if the word bitch is still acceptable?

Jane higgs

I WASTED 15 MINUTES OF MY LIFE READING THIS STORY WHICH IS A LOAD OF CRAP! YOU SHOULD TAKE LESSONS FROM KYLE LARSON ON HOW TO BE A GOOD, DECENT HUMAM BEING. HE SAID A WORD, THAT I WONDER HOW MANY TIMES YOU HAVE SAID. THE ONLY THING DIFFERENT IS HE IS A PRO ATHLETE AND SAID IT ON A GAME ON TELEVISION. HE KNOWS HE MADE A MISTAKE . HE’S A GOOD PERSON THAT ALREADY WORKED WITH BLACK GROUPS. DOING THINGS FOR CHILDREN. WHAT DO YOU DO BESIDES WRITE CRAPPY ARTICLES.

Reno Fontana

Where did this liberal writer get the idea that she knows more about KL and what NASCAR fans should think of Kyle than us fans ourselves?

God, please don’t give this idiot a professorship.

Mira

I have extremely mixed opinions on this article, while it brings up some valid points it also demonstrates a glaring lack of background research and knowledge of NASCAR.

It should be unequivocally clear to everyone that Kyle Larson usage of the n-word, as a non-Black person is unacceptable. Yes, the n-word is used frequently in rap music by Black artists, but after hundreds of years of being disparaged by the word they collectively have earned the right to use it. They are reclaiming language, which is powerful. Larson dropping it casually into conversation implies comfort with using the slur, meaning it was presumably a somewhat regular part of his vocabulary. In an interview, Kyle admitted that he surrounded himself with a unsavory inner circle of friends, which almost certainly exposed him to derogatory language. That doesn’t excuse his behavior, it shows the type of person he was last April. Not overtly racist but definitely a sheltered individual with privilege that was ignorant to the power of words. I genuinely believe that he has changed and I am glad this article recognizes that.

“Larson, however, fell upward.” This statement is pretty objectively incorrect. First, Larson didn’t gracefully fall into anything. In being fired from his job, Larson lost his only source of income. Immediately gone was his lucrative contract and all the sponsor relationships he had worked for years to maintain. At Hendrick Motorsports, Larson almost certainly took a substantial pay cut. Additionally, Larson has no outside sponsorship, limiting his job security in a sport where there are always drivers with immense financial backing looking for seats. Both of the companies that have appeared on his car this year, NationsGuard and HendrickCars.com, are owned by Rick Hendrick himself. Due to financial constraints, Larson was forced to sell a car and the home he owned in North Carolina. Larson shut down operations of his World of Outlaws sprint car team, leaving his driver Carson Macedo unemployed. Larson’s reputation has been permanently tarnished, an metaphorical asterisk attached to his name. Larson will almost certainly have to deal with the burden of being labeled racist for the remainder of his career. Even though Larson himself said that he deserved the consequences of his actions, don’t diminish the consequences he experienced. Second, Larson moved laterally as Chip Ganassi Racing and Hendrick Motorsports are pretty similar quality organizations. The Hendrick Motorsports #5 team is the successor of the #48 team driven by Jimmie Johnson last season, both use identical personnel including crew chief Cliff Daniels. Here is a comparison of the #48 and #42 teams between 2017 and 2019, which shows they perform relatively evenly:

#42: 5 wins, 35 top 5’s, 56 top 10’s, average finish of 13.6 in 108 races
#48: 3 wins, 9 top 5’s, 34 top 10’s, average finish of 17 in 108 races

If anything, Larson is actually receiving a slight downgrade in equipment from his previous ride.

NASCAR has an extensive history of discrimination that we should apologize for and learn from. While there is undeniably work to be done, this article refuses to acknowledge the recent changes NASCAR has attempted to make towards making the sport more inclusive. I presume, or at least hope, this refusal is due to ignorance rather than personal bias. There was the Confederate flag ban of course, while overdue it is a step in a positive direction. NASCAR should be commended for making that decision knowing it would alienate a substantial portion of the sports Southern, White fanbase, risking television viewership totals. The work of Bubba Wallace towards dismantling racial inequality and addressing discrimination has been entirely ignored by this article, his name is not even mentioned once! The NASCAR Drive for Diversity program has existed since 2004, producing current drivers like Larson, Wallace, and Daniel Suárez, as well as upcoming names like Ryan Vargas, Gracie Trotter, and Nick Sanchez. NASCAR even joined the pro-LGBTQ+ You Can Play alliance of major professional sporting leagues, which would have been unthinkable in the past. Over the years, NASCAR has made amends towards the family of Wendell Scott even though it doesn’t make up for the blatant racism he experienced. The actions of trailblazers like Scott and Willy T. Ribbs helped pave the way for Bubba Wallace, and he is lighting the path for following generations of aspiring Black drivers.

What specific additional measures should NASCAR take to diversify their drivers and make them more representative of the overall demographics of the United States? ZERO are mentioned in this article. Other forms of motorsports are not considerably better at being racially diverse. For the first time in NASCAR history, three different Cup series organizations are owned by non-White individuals. NASCAR has three active Black drivers in Bubba Wallace, Jesse Iwuji, and Bill Lester, who is scheduled to compete at next weekend’s Truck race in Atlanta. IndyCar has ZERO Black drivers, while Formula 1 only has Lewis Hamilton. Neither IndyCar or Formula 1 have the right to claim any moral superiority or high ground over NASCAR on this issue.

What specific additional actions should Kyle Larson take to advocate for racial justice beyond the volunteer work he has already done? Again, this article fails to provide any concrete suggestions for addressing the questions it raises, a terrible practice of journalism. While it would have been a fitting gesture for Larson to start another conversation about police brutality in his victory lane interview, he is under no obligation to discuss that subject. He had just won his first race since October 2019, so it is understandable why he wanted to focus on talking about racing. NASCAR should have dialogue on racial inequities in the future, which Larson will hopefully help lead. This article also inaccurately stereotyped Larson in assuming he used his interview to talk about religion, I expect better from an author with progressive political views.

Lewis Hamilton might have called for change but Formula 1 did little to accomplish any of the ideals he advocated for. Don’t even get me started on how Formula 1 condones human rights abuses by taking money from countries convicted of actions like murdering journalists and torturing imprisoned political dissidents, which is more morally reprehensible than anything NASCAR has done. The #WeDriveAsOne initiative is nothing but laughable pandering because Formula 1 doesn’t put a meaningful amount of money towards funding diversity initiatives. In Nikita Mazepin, Formula 1 has a driver who filmed himself committing an act of sexual assault with literally no consequences! I’m waiting for the Frontstrech article calling out Formula 1 for being a traditionally hostile environment for females.

Ava, I mean the following sentence in the most polite and respectful way possible. Please stick to Formula 1 coverage. You are intelligent and a decent writer, but you don’t know much about NASCAR.

1964

This author is so hypocritical. Like so many other journalists. You want to condemn a indiviual who used a derogative word. In everyday life, black America uses use n word alot. No slave owners or slaves are alive today. But what really gets me pissed off is, nascar, nfl, nba, Hollywood, not one of them truly care about justice for Black America or the black youth. Where is B.L.M. in Chicago, Baltimore, Atlanta all the major inner cities. Black on black crime is killing black children , black males. 10 times the rate of law enforcement annanualy. The author needs to do her research. Yes, the driver including myself should be aware of what we say. I to have many black friends, that are close to me as my real brothers and we can say anything we want. Because we know what is in our hearts. No one should be murdered. Why, will no one tell the truth. Parents of murdered black kids have asked b.l.m. to help address this injustice of children dieing. B.l.m. has stated, not their problem, not their agenda. Why would any professional sports organization honor child predators, rapist, wife beaters, drug dealers. Rappers talk about killing police, rape, stealing , assault while useing the n word repeatedly. I was a big fan of nascar at one time. I feel as though they have gotten away from their fan base. I have no problem removing the Confederate flag. Simply be fair to all. To the author, if you really want to help black America, report the truth about what is really happening and address how many black lives are being murdered. You are so caught on a word that hasent killed anyone. I realize you are a woman but grow a set. But you want. You are a pretender who is to scared to tell the truth. As far as nascar, i will spend my money on my grandkids.

Jumbo kelly jumboky50@gmail.com

Forgive and forget about the racist people fanning the flames I’m all for equality but I’m not for all people of racism crying racism at the drop of a hat get over it get a job go to work and shit up

Lee

What ever happened to “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”? When did people become such fragile, whiny bitches? He said a word, to his friend, in what he thought was a private chat. Big deal. Anyone that says they don’t talk differently among their closest friends than they do around strangers is a damn liar, whether they admit it or not.

Jason trumble

He didn’t comment on George Floyd cause George Floyd is irrelevant and the reason there aren’t any black owners in F1 is because no black person has purchased an F1 team. What are they supposed to do? Force somebody from the black community to buy into a racing team?? You people in the media need to step away from all this racial bs. If somebody that’s black wanted to participate nobody is telling them they can’t. They can ride the bus from any seat these days in case you were wondering

steven Hendrick

Leave it at that. It’s a southern sport and always will be. He has done more than enough for using his right of freedom of speech and getting punished for it. If white people cant say it then tell the black people to take it out of there vocabulary. Most wouldnt have any music left to sing!

Bret Ware

I love any kind of racing but Nascar has regressed in my opinion, poor racing and little personality to their drivers, the PR people have made the drivers mundane. That often means there is little to talk about during the broadcast regarding the drivers. For me it just seems like there’s little excitement prior to the races, the point system has add a massive element of chance to the Championship. Also stage racing has made every race pretty much the same, often even the 10 mins highlight videos are action-less. Back in NASCAR’s heyday anything could happen, even just 20 years ago, now very little can happen in the tightly controlled sport, reminds me of the hockey’s path to obscurity.

Ted

Losing your job for the utterance of a single word that is used by many (on one side) is the real crime here

Todd S.

Lets all ban together and agree to never read anymore of her articles. Lets cancel her. Oh no that would be doing the same thing to her as she is doing to Kyle! She made a mistake in judgement and wrote an awful article about someone that made a terrible mistake and is trying to learn and better himself. He shouldn’t loose his livelihood and reputation for life and she shouldn’t either. She should write a retraction or at least an updated article about all that Kyle has done to right his wrong and all that NASCAR is doing to change its old ways. A life shouldn’t be ruined by one mistake as long as we all grow from it!

William lang

earth, like heaven, embodies so many races! Like a field of flowers. Its what makes earth beautiful. America’s mission is stated on the statue of liberty. Send all to me for our land is special. The only country on earth specifically brought into existence for all races. Thats powerful. How do you not have racism in a land of all races?…..education…..leads to civility….then heaven awaits you for an eternal life.

william wesley friar

I think he has paid for his mistake leave it be all your trying to do is keep this stuff stirred leave it be kyle has worked hard to rectify his mistake i think he is a fine out standing young man that made a mistake and paid for it we all have made a mistake here and there so let it be

Big Tee

Dear God please cancel her.Let her see what it’s like because this written pile of crap offended the hell out of me.NASCAR going WOKE has already started canceling itself..TYFY BYE

Gary

I MAY start to take “articles” like this a bit more seriously when the same writers complain about the “color” of professional basketball and football.

Mark s kostyal

Very true and thanks .

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