NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was suspended by NASCAR, his team and now sponsors have also separated themselves
On Sunday night, Kyle Larson ran an iRacing event at Monza. Unfortunately, he used the n-word, hard r.
The 27-year-old, was presumably attempting to contact his person spotter through the online racing game. Drivers and spotter have their own private channel to do so.
However, Larson was having mic issues. Instead of the word being sent to his spotter alone, it was sent to the public audio channel.
All 60+ drivers in the race heard the use of the word. In addition to all the fans tuned in to watch the online racing game on various online platforms.
On Monday, NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson was suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing. An hour later, he was suspended by the sport itself with a requirement to attend sensitivity training.
Monday afternoon, Larson issued an apology video. Throughout the day, multiple sponsors also suspended ties with the driver.
Credit One Bank
Credit One is featured as the primary sponsor in more races than any other on the No. 42 machine.
“Credit One Bank denounces the highly offensive language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event,” Credit One stated.
“In addition to the quick actions taken by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing, Credit One Bank is terminating its sponsorship of Kyle Larson,” Credit One concluded.
“We were extremely disappointed and appalled to hear about this incident,” read the McDonald’s statement.
“The comments made by Kyle Larson are insensitive, offensive and not reflective of our inclusive values and will not be tolerated. McDonald’s is taking immediate action to terminate the relationship with Larson,” McDonalds concluded.
Advent Health serves as the primary sponsor is select events. They only had one race left for 2020.
“As an organization that is focused on creating a culture of inclusiveness and wholeness for out patients and team members, we denounce Kyle Larson’s use of a racial slur during a virtual race over the weekend,” the company said in a statement.
“Advent Health was not a sponsor of the event, but does have an ongoing partnership with his team, Chip Ganassi Racing. We support the decisive actions taken by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing.”
Clover has severed their partnership with Larson.
“We denounce the language used during Sunday’s iRacing event. We support the actions taken today by NASCAR & the Chip Ganassi Racing Team, and are terminating our sponsorship of Kyle Larson,” Fiserv stated.
Plan B Sales & Marketing
Kyle Larson is involved in more than NASCAR. He also owns a dirt sprint car and dirt midget operation. To which, Plan B Sales is a partner.
“As many of you know, we have been associated with Kyle Larson since 2013, from getting him to sign die cast in our warehouse, bringing him in to interact with fans during our bi-annual events during race weeks to sponsoring him 2 years in a row for the Winter Nationals sprint car races in Yuma.”
“Kyle has signed 1000’s and 1000’s of die cast cars for us and we have likely spent 20+ hours with and around him. Never once has he come across to us as a person will ill intent toward anyone and he would be the last person I would ever associate with any type of racism.
“Kyle called me personally earlier today to express his regret fullness about with transpired. He sounded very somber and was very apologetic. I told Kyle I was proud of the way he is handling it, being up front, not trying to hide, admitting his mistake and taking the steps to learn and grow from it.”
“Although we do not condone or appreciate the slur Kyle used during his iRacing event last night, at the same time we know his is an awesome young man that made a mistake and we are going to stand behind him 100% and help any way we can,” Plan B Sales concluded.
Teams receive a large amount of funding from the manufactures themselves. This could make it difficult for Larson to return to any Chevy team as the manufacture would likely be consulted upon the hire of a new driver.
“Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kyle Larson indefinitely, as we do not tolerate this behavior,” Chevrolet stated via spokesperson.
“We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Larson and are prepared to take additional action,” Chevy concluded.
All of the above makes it highly unlikely that Larson returns to Chip Ganassi Racing. Several of the sponsors above suspended or terminated their deal with the driver, not always the team.
Teams depend on sponsorship income. If the sponsor doesn’t want Larson in the seat, the team will be forced to find a new driver. It’s easier to find a new driver than a new sponsor.
Additionally, it will be harder for Larson to land back in a Chevrolet team. That leaves Ford and Toyota.
Stewart-Haas Racing has expressed interest in Larson over the years. However, Larson has always remained loyal to Chip Ganassi. He planned to race for Ganassi as long as he wanted him, due to him giving him his shot in the sport.
This opens to the doors for Larson to explore other venues.
Over the years, Toyota has expressed disappointment in themselves for losing Larson as a development driver. They helped Larson reach the highest level of auto racing in America.
But, when he reached the top, there were no open Toyota seats available. Larson was forced to jump ship, landing in a Chevrolet.
Toyota has repeatedly stated they regretted that. This could present an opportunity to get him back.
Larson’s suspension could last 2-6 weeks. Could it be lifted before NASCAR returns following Coronavirus postponements? Yes.
Will he have a ride when the season re-opens? Likely. It’s not likely to be at Chip Ganassi Racing.