NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has been suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing after he said the N-word during a live stream of an iRacing event Sunday.
Apparently not realizing he was speaking to the entire group of drivers on the online simulation rather than just his spotter, Larson can be heard saying, “You can’t hear me? Hey, n—.”
There was a stunned silence afterward before Anthony Alfredo responded, “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.”
Added Aron MacEachern: “Yup, we heard that.”
Justin Botelho, the host of the viral stream, said: “Oh damn, he did not just say that.”
Link to the video can be found here.
NASCAR in a statement Monday said it is “aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information.” Chip Ganassi Racing said it has suspended Larson indefinitely.
“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event. The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay.”
Larson has not made public comments regarding the incident. McDonald’s and Credit One Bank, which sponsor Larson, have not responded to Sporting News’ requests for comment.
Larson, a Japanese-American competitor, is a graduate of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity program.
NASCAR’s behavior policy states that “NASCAR Members shall not make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, race, or handicapping situation.
“Member actions that could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension, or termination: 1. Public statement and/pr communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, race, or handicapping situation.”
In the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic halted live NASCAR events, the sport has held virtual, nationally broadcasted races between drivers on the iRacing simulator, though the virtual race in which Larson participated Sunday was not an official NASCAR iRacing event.