Kyle Larson has lost his NASCAR Cup Series drive with Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) after the organisation fired the 27-year-old for using a racial slur during an iRacing event over the weekend.
During the Monza Madness iRacing NASCAR event, Larson believed he was not audible to the rest of the competitors taking part, and used the racial slur to check if his mic was live, believing himself to be in a private chat with his crew chief.
Sponsors affiliated with the 42 CGR team began to release their own statements on the incident yesterday, with McDonalds and Credit One Bank both withdrawing their sponsorship of the driver.
Both made clear though that they would continue to support CGR, putting pressure on the team to act, while NASCAR itself said that it was opening its own investigation into the incident.
Chevrolet also announced that it was no longer sponsoring Larson.
A statement released by CGR said that the decision was the only appropriate one to make following Larson’s outburst.
“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” the team said.
“As we said before, the comments that Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organisation.
“As we continue to evaluate the situation with all the relevant parties, it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take.”
Sponsor Credit One dropped the driver along with McDonalds
Larson posted to social media in the aftermath, saying in a video that he was sorry and that there was no excuse for his actions.
“Last night I made a mistake, said the word that should never, ever be said, and there’s no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way. 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. I just wanted to let you know how sorry I all am.”
Larson was set to be involved in a huge free agency market during NASCAR’s 2020 season, with multiple seats potentially available at top teams in the series and his services highly sought after prior to the incident.
While the event itself was not an official NASCAR event, drivers have been broadcast largely uncensored either as part of official broadcasts by FOX or personal livestreams on Twitch, leaving drivers to censor themselves.