April 14, 2020 / 4:00 PM / 4 months ago

Chip Ganassi Racing fires Larson after racial slur

Chip Ganassi Racing fired driver Kyle Larson on Tuesday, two days after he used a racial slur during a livestream broadcast of a virtual race.

Nov 10, 2019; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson during the Bluegreen Vacations 500 at ISM Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” the organization said. “As we said before, the comments that Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organization.”

Larson was participating in a simulated race and had problems with headset communication with his spotter. In one microphone check, Larson could be heard using the n-word. The entire communication was broadcast to followers on the streaming service Twitch and eNASCAR.com.

Sunday’s virtual exhibition race at Italy’s Autodromo Nazionale Monza was not part of the NASCAR official iRacing series.

NASCAR indefinitely suspended the 27-year-old driver on Monday.

Larson issued a video apology Monday on Twitter.

“I just want to say I’m sorry,” he said. “Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said and there’s no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way and 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.

“I understand the damage is probably unrepairable, and I own up to that. I just want to let you all know how sorry I am and I hope everybody is staying safe during these crazy times.”

Larson, who is part Japanese, graduated to NASCAR through a program called “Drive for Diversity.” His grandparents spent time in an internment camp in California in World War II.

Larson is in his seventh season on the NASCAR circuit. He has six career Cup wins and was sixth in the final standings in 2019.

He drove the No. 42 Camaro and was in the final year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

—Field Level Media

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