Chip Ganassi Racing, the team that has employed NASCAR driver Kyle Larson since 2014, announced Monday it is suspending the 27-year-old without pay after he used “offensive and unacceptable” language during an iRacing event Sunday. Larson used the N-word during a live stream of a virtual race.
“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing event,” the statement read. “The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay while we work through this situation with all appropriate parties.”
Larson has not commented publicly on the matter. NASCAR on Monday issued a statement of its own, claiming it is “aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information.” Larson’s primary sponsors, McDonalds and Credit One Bank, have not responded to Sporting News’ request for comment.
Evidently not realizing he was speaking to the entire group of drivers on the online simulation, rather than just his spotter, Larson said, “You can’t hear me? Hey, n—.”
After a brief moment of stunned silence, another driver, Anthony Alfredo, responded, “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.” Added Aron MacEachern: “Yup, we heard that.” Justin Botelho, the host of the viral stream, said: “Oh damn, he did not just say that.”
The virtual race in which Larson participated Sunday was not an official NASCAR iRacing event, which have been replacing the live NASCAR Cup Series races that have been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
NASCAR’s behavior policy states that “NASCAR Members shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, race, or handicapping situation.
“Member actions that could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension, or termination: 1. Public statement and/pr communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, race, or handicapping situation.”
Larson, who has been racing in the Cup Series since 2013, has six career wins in NASCAR’s top circuit. He also has 12 NASCAR Xfinity Series wins and a pair of NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series wins. His contract at CGR is set to expire after the 2020 season.
Dan Bernstein contributed to this report.
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