“NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event,” the statement from NASCAR said. “Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base.”
NASCAR is requiring that Larson attend sensitivity training under its Member Conduct Guidelines. Larson has also been indefinitely suspended from using the iRacing platform, and lost a significant portion of his sponsors.READ MORE: Whitmer Announces 90 New Manufacturing, Professional Services Jobs In Southwest Michigan
“Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever, be said,” Larson said in an apology video posted on Twitter shortly after noon Monday. “There’s no excuse for that; I wasn’t raised that way. It’s just an awful thing to say.”
In 2013, NASCAR suspended Xfinity driver Jeremy Clements for using the same racial slur, Clements was reinstated after completing sensitivity training.
In addition to sanctions from iRacing and NASCAR, Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing team said it is suspending him without pay, while automobile manufacturer Chevrolet said in a statement that it has “suspended its relationship with Kyle Larson indefinitely, as we do not tolerate this behavior.”
One of Larson’s biggest sponsors, Credit One Bank, said in a statement that it was terminating its sponsorship of the driver. Shortly after Credit One Bank announced its partnership termination, McDonald’s said in a statement that it was also terminating its sponsorship of Larson. Both companies said they would maintain ties to CGR, however. AdventHealth, which had one primary race remaining with Larson this season, said it supported the “decisive actions taken by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing.”
“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event,” a statement from CGR said. “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.”READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: When Will You Get Your First Check?
Not all sponsors have turned from Larson, however. Motorsports merchandise company PlanBSales, which has been associated with Larson since 2013, said in a Facebook post that it would continue to support the driver.
“Kyle called me personally earlier today to express his regret fullness about what transpired,” PlanBSales owner Brent Powell wrote in the post. “He sounded very somber and was very apologetic. I told Kyle I was proud of the way he is handling it, being up front, not trying to hide, admitting his mistake, and taking steps to learn and grow from it.”
“Although we do not condone or appreciate the slur Kyle used during his iRacing event last night at the same time we know he is an awesome young man that made a mistake,” the post continued. “And we are going to stand behind him 100% and help any way we can.”
California-based hay company Finley Farming also said it would continue its sponsorship of Larson’s sprint car career.
“We all make mistakes and deserve a second chance!” Finley Farming owner Jason Finley tweeted.
“I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community, and especially the African-American community,” Larson’s said in the apology video. “I understand the damage is probably unrepairable, and I own up to that. I want to let you all know how sorry I am.”
As the fallout from Sunday continues, Larson’s chance of racing for a competitive organization next year grows slimmer.MORE NEWS: ATF Agents Hold A Classroom, Simulated 'Use Of Force' Training For The Media, To Better Explain Police Policy To Public
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