UPDATE (Tuesday, April 14, 2020): Kyle Larson has officially been released from Chip Ganassi Racing following the use of a racial slur in an iRacing event on Sunday.
Wow. eSports Racing has not gone well lately for NASCAR stars. First, Bubba Wallace lost sponsor Blue-Emu after rage quitting early in last Sunday’s iRacing eNASCAR Pro Invitational Series event at Bristol.
Now, on Easter, Kyle Larson, too, had a moment during a virtual race that could impact his racing career, and at the very least has led to an indefinite suspension from the sport of NASCAR.
During Landon Cassill’s Monza Madness event, Larson dropped a racially charged word on the driver voice chat.
In addition to the race broadcast being streamed on eNASCAR.com, many of the 60 drivers in the event had their own POV stream of the race. This is where the word was heard. Larson, apparently, didn’t realize that the radio communication he was sending out was going to the other drivers.
Here is the video of the incident:
yeah uh pic.twitter.com/BBH7bRcIu8
— Davin (@DriveThrough_) April 13, 2020
Larson, of course, paved his way up the NASCAR ladder through the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program. This program was created in 2004 in an effort to give aspiring minority and female drivers a better chance at racing competitively in the sport.
Larson was a member of the program in 2012.
On Monday, Chip Ganassi Racing released a statement saying that they are disappointed and will be suspending Larson without pay, while they work through the situation.
Statement regarding Kyle Larson: pic.twitter.com/s340nc7eN9
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) April 13, 2020
Following CGR’s statement, NASCAR released a statement of their own, and had decided to also indefinitely suspend Larson from competition.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) April 13, 2020
After the statements from CGR and NASCAR, Larson released a video statement of his own apologizing for his actions.
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) April 13, 2020
Larson’s real-world NASCAR Cup Series sponsor CreditOne Bank released a statement as well, applauding NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing for taking such swift action against Larson’s actions.
Statement from Credit One Bank regarding the actions of Kyle Larson. pic.twitter.com/qVcuoXsTCZ
— Credit One Bank (@CreditOneBank) April 13, 2020
Additionally, Larson has been suspended from the iRacing service as well.
— iRacing.com (@iRacing) April 13, 2020
Following the statements above, Chip Ganassi Racing sponsors CreditOne Bank and McDonald’s — who makeup a huge portion of the primary sponsorships of the No. 42 car — announced Monday afternoon that they will be ending their sponsorships with Larson.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.