NASCAR Driver Suspended for Uttering Slur

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
nascar driver suspended for uttering slur

American stock car driver and World of Outlaws Sprint car team owner Kyle Larson was caught uttering a racial slur via a hot mic on Easter Sunday. Larson (#42 in the the NASCAR Cup Series) was participating in an online racing event with other professional drivers, streamed via Twitch and eNASCAR, where he suffered a virtual off. Afterward, it seemed like he was having a difficult time with his headset or internet connection. Larson clearly asks whether or not another driver can hear him before casually tossing in America’s least-favorite racial slur, apparently unaware that he was broadcasting on an open channel.

As you might imagine, the response was swift and savage. By Monday, Chip Ganassi Racing had announced it was suspending Larson without pay while it investigates the situation. NASCAR said it would look into the matter before it decides how to act.

The driver issued a public apology shortly after news of his suspension broke.

“Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never ever be said and there’s no excuse for that,” Larson said in a video. “I wasn’t raised that way and 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.”

Meanwhile, the media seems torn on how severe the punishment should be. While we’re not sure how relevant this should be, Larson is the first NASCAR driver of Japanese ancestry and was part of the organization’s “Drive for Diversity” initiative. Started in 2004, the program was designed by NASCAR marketing executives to attract minority fans and drivers to the sport. Kyle Larson is arguably Drive for Diversity’s biggest success story. In fact, he’s praised it numerous times for helping him get where he is today.

That has left many concerned that penalizing him sends the wrong message, though we would argue that this entire issue could be simplified by having a clear regulatory standard within the sport. If someone breaks an established rule, ramifications should probably be independent of their ethnicity. However, considering Conor Daly lost a sponsorship deal over his father’s racial insensitivities in 2018, we imagine race teams will continue doing whatever they want to best maintain their public image. Ironically, Daly was in communication with Larson when the impetus for the scandal took place (bad language ahead).

“Hey, you can’t hear me?” Larson asked on Sunday. “Hey, nigger.”

For a moment, you can hear a couple drivers chuckle as they realize he had mistakenly broadcast on an open channel. After an brief silence, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Anthony Alfredo responded with “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.”

After a bit more chatter, Daly can be heard saying “yikes” to nobody in particular.

Well, @KyleLarsonRacin apparently dropping an n-bomb could be the biggest story in sports this weekend.

— A.J. Perez (@byajperez) April 13, 2020

[Image: NASCAR]

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2 of 52 comments
  • FreedMike One of the things that we here in North America often forget about Europe is that it's a COMPLETELY different world to drive in. Imagine driving in the downtown area of the city you live in 24/7, and never leaving it, and you have a decent simulation of what it's like to drive in a place like Paris, or London, or Rome - or Manhattan, for that matter. As far as the "dystopia" is concerned, I don't really see it that way. This isn't made for people living in the 'burbs - it's for urban dwellers. And for that application, this car would be about perfect. The big question is how successful the effort to provide large-scale EV charging in urban areas will be.
  • Matzel I am hoping that Vee-Dub will improve the UX and offer additional color options for the 2024 Mk8.5 refresh for Canada. Until then, I'll be quite happy with my '21 GTI performance pack. It still puts a smile on my face going through the twisty bits.
  • Stanley Steamer There have been other concepts with BYOT, that I have always thought was a great idea. Replacing bespoke parts is expensive. If I can plug in a standard 17" monitor to serve as my instrument panel, as well as speakers, radio, generic motors, batteries, I'm for it. Cheaper repair, replacement, or upgrade costs. Heck I'd even like to put in my own comfy seats. My house didn't come with a built in LaZboy. The irony is that omitting these bespoke items at the point of sale allows me to create a more bespoke car as a whole. It's hard to imagine what an empty rolling monocoque chassis would look like capable of having powertrains and accessories easily bolted on in my garage, but something like the Bollinger suv comes to mind.
  • Iam65689044 Sometimes I'm glad the French don't sell in America. This is one of those times.
  • SCE to AUX I was going to scoff, but the idea has some merit.The hard part would be keeping the weight and cost down. Even on the EPA cycle, this thing could probably get over 210 miles with that battery.But the cost - it's too tempting to bulk up the product for profits. What might start as a $22k car quickly becomes $30k.Resource-deprived people can't buy it then, anyway, and where will Kyle get the electricity to charge it in 2029 Los Angeles?