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Chip Ganassi Racing fires driver Kyle Larson after racial slur during iRacing event

 

Coming into the 2020 season, Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, was set to be a free agent after the 2020 season and the most sought-after driver on the market. But now all of that hype is out the window due to a slip of the tongue that has angered NASCAR officials, his employer, rival drivers, sponsors and fans.

The 27-yer-old Larson, was fired by owner Chip Ganassi on Tuesday, a day after he was suspended by it for saying the “N” word during Sunday Night’s iRacing event that was broadcast on NASCAR’s website and heard by all drivers and fans listening to the race.

Kyle Larson

Monday morning the fallout from Larson’s usage of the word started immediately. CGR suspended him without pay. Then NASCAR immediately followed that up saying that Larson had to complete sensitivity training to be reinstated  if and when real racing resumed.

NASCAR STATEMENT ON KYLE LARSON:

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. 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.

But the gavel fell Monday afternoon when Larson’s two biggest sponsors on his car, McDonald’s and Credit One, decided to distance themselves completely from him and terminated all contracts. It takes millions of dollars to operate a car to run 36 races and without your two biggest, a team just can’t go forward.

“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” the team said in a statement. “As we said before, the comments that Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable, especially given the values of our organization. As we continued to evaluate the situation with all the relevant parties, it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take.”

Even after the firing, the snowball effect kept rolling.  Chevrolet also terminated its agreement with him. Larson has driven Chevys in his entire Cup career and was a candidate to replace the retiring Jimmie Johnson in the #48 Lowes Chevrolet.

With so many of the “name” drivers like Johnson retiring from the sport, the Japanese-American was counted on being one of NASCAR’s poster boys for the future. But that is all gone as sponsor will be very hesitant to trust him to represent their brand. His maternal grandparents spent time in a Japanese internment camp. Larson became the first participant of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity initiative to win a Cup Series race when he drove to victory in 2016.

An Elk Grove, California native, Larson entered the Cup Series full-time in 2014 and has won six races over the past four-plus seasons. He’s finished in the top 10 of the points standings in each of the last four seasons and was seventh in the standings through the first four races of 2020.

 

 

 

 

 

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