Larson already had been suspended by NASCAR on Monday and originally had been suspended without pay by his racing team.
“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 stock-car circuit said in a statement. “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.”
During the live stream, which featured other NASCAR drivers and could be viewed by the public, Larson asked, “You can’t hear me?” Then he said, “Hey, [n-word].”
Other drivers told Larson that his voice could be heard by all.
“Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud,” Xfinity Series driver Anthony Alfredo said, per the Charlotte Observer.
“Yep, we heard that,” iRacing driver Aron MacEachern added.
“Yikes,” IndyCar driver Conor Daly said.
Larson apologized Monday in a video posted to his Twitter account.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry,” he said. “Last night, I made a mistake and 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, and 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 unrepairable, and I own up to that. But I just wanted to let you all know how sorry I am.”
Larson, 27, has six wins since he debuted in NASCAR’s top series in 2013 and finished sixth in last year’s Cup Series standings. His mother is Japanese American, and Larson climbed through stock-car racing’s ranks via NASCAR’s “Drive for Diversity” program.
With NASCAR on hiatus amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, its drivers have been competing against one another remotely via iRacing, a video game that mimics the real deal. The events are broadcast nationally by Fox, with some races drawing more than a million viewers. Sunday’s race was just for fun and not officially sanctioned.
Earlier this month, driver Bubba Wallace wrecked early in one of the simulated races and quit the competition prematurely.
“Y’all have a good one. That’s it. This is why I don’t take this [expletive] serious,” Wallace said immediately after the wreck. “Peace out!”
One of Wallace’s sponsors, a pain-relief cream called Blue-Emu, dropped him after the outburst.
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