NASCAR’s Kyle Larson apologizes after suspension over racial slur during racing livestream

NASCAR's Kyle Larson fired from racing team

Chip Ganassi Racing has suspended driver Kyle Larson from NASCAR following an alleged use of a racial slur on a livestream during an iRacing event Sunday night.

“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,” a NASCAR statement read. “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.”

Larson apologized for his actions.

“I made a mistake, said the word that should never, ever be said,” Larson said. “There is no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way. It is 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.

“I understand the damage is probably unrepairable and I own up to that. But I just want to let you all know how sorry I am and I hope everyone is staying safe during these crazy times.”

Earlier Monday, Chip Ganassi Racing officials said Larson had been suspended without pay.

“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event,” a statement from Chip Ganassi Racing 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 was competing in an iRacing event Sunday night when he appeared to lose communication with his spotter on his headset. During a check of his microphone, Larson said, “You can't hear me?” That was followed by the N-word.

Larson, 27, is in his seventh season racing at NASCAR’s top Cup level and is in the final year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Larson, whose grandparents spent time in an interment camp in California during World War II, climbed from short-track racing into NASCAR through its “Drive for Diversity” program. He is the only driver of Japanese descent to win a major NASCAR race.