NASCAR driver Kyle Larson utters racial slur, ending several endorsements and Chip Ganassi Racing team contract


Brenda Kochevar

Kyle Larson at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 10, 2019

Brenda Kochevar, Reporter

In Sunday’s iRacing Monza Madness event Kyle Larson reportedly used the N-word.

The virtual racing event on the oval at Monza was promoted by Landon Cassill and featured over 60 drivers from INDYCAR, NASCAR, NHRA and more.

It was not sanctioned by NASCAR.

Racing News reported that Larson had microphone issues and possibly thought it wasn’t working or that he was on a private channel with his digital spotter.

Larson uttered the N-word over the livestream broadcast.

Listeners who heard the racial slur included the more than 60 drivers and participating race fans.

The digital event was streamed live on the NASCAR YouTube channel and several social media pages.

On Monday, Chip Ganassi Racing suspended Larson. 

NASCAR followed by suspending Larson and set a requirement for sensitivity training. 

NASCAR also gave Larson a behavioral penalty.

iRacing issued a statement that it was also suspending Larson.

Larson issued an apology video on his Instagram page @kylelarson42.

“Hey, I just want to say, I’m sorry,” Larson said in his introduction.

“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. 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. I understand the damage is probably un-repairable and I own up to that. But, I just want to let you all know how sorry I am. And, I hope everyone is staying safe during these crazy times. Thank you,” Larson said.

Larson’s twitter apology @KyleLarsonRacin has almost two million views.

Chevrolet suspended its corporate sponsorship of Larson due to his use of a racial slur.

Clover, Credit One, and McDonald’s all announced their sponsorships were terminated with Larson for the same reason.

On Tuesday, Chip Ganassi Racing announced the ending of its relationship with Larson stating the comments he made were unacceptable and did not follow the values of the organization.

PlanBSales, a motorsports merchandise company, said while it did not condone his comments it would stand behind him and continue to sponsor him.

Finley Farming, based in California, said it would also continue sponsorship stating mistakes were made and Larson deserved a second chance.

Ironically, Larson was discovered through NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program. The program brings minorities into the sport with a training program. 

Larson, half Japanese, graduated and had done well, winning Rookie of the Year three times and finishing in the top 10 in 101 NASCAR Cup races.

Larson drove No.42 Chevrolet and was in his last year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Larson was in his eighth NASCAR Cup Series and ranked seventh in the series.

Larson recently raced in Arizona at Phoenix Raceway on March 8, 2020, and on Nov. 10, 2019. He placed fourth in both NASCAR races.