NASCAR suspended the driver for his use of the n-word; Now, Larson hopes to get an opportunity to race in NASCAR again
Back in April, quarantine was well in effect. NASCAR had turned digital. Drivers with million dollar racing career were now running sim racing events from their living room.
Watch the full Kyle Larson interview below.
Fans could tune into these races from around the world. In the NASCAR sanctioned events, 1.339 million tuned in on Sunday to see their drivers take on the digital racing scene. It broke records for the most viewed eSports event in history, their own record which was set a week prior.
In between those official races, NASCAR, Indycar and drivers from other forms of the professional motorsports ladder could be found on the iRacing platform. They didn’t just sit down on Sunday, many of them, with nothing to do, ran much smaller races in hosted rooms.
Kyle Larson uses the n-word
Larson was in a race on the digital Monza oval when his world was flipped upside down. He used the n-word while attempting to reach his personal spotter on a private channel.
However, the audio was not sent to the private channel. A wrong button sent the audio to the public channel where all 60 other drivers and thousands of fans who tuned in could hear.
Within hours, Larson was trending on twitter. The next day he was suspended by his team. NASCAR soon followed with their own suspension. Sponsors began to abandon the driver and Chip Ganassi Racing was forced to fire Kyle Larson.
In the months that have followed, Larson has been on a journey to learn. He’s been working closely with the Urban Racing School in Pennsylvania, an organization he worked with prior to the incident.
NASCAR required the suspended driver to complete a sensitivity training class, he completed that within weeks of his suspension. Beyond that, Larson’s engaged in important conversations as he learns more about social injustice in America. All of this was behind the scene.
On Friday, Larson appeared on CBS This Morning in his first tv interview since the incident.
Kyle Larson comments in first tv interview since the racial slur
“I know, deep down, I’m not a racist. I said a racist word and I can fully understand why people would label me a racist,” Larson stated.
Larson was speaking to his spotter, who’s white.
“I had raced with him in Australia. The group that we were with kind of used the word casually as a greeting. I didn’t use it in a way to degrade or insult anyone.”
Larson has regrets, “It’s not my word to use. I need to get it out of my vocabulary and I have. I didn’t think of how it took African Americans, took their thoughts, back to slavery and things like that. Injustice and things they’ve had to work so hard to overcome.”
“I understand people who might not know me. That might not believe [that I’ve changed] or think that I’m just checking the box. I feel like I’ve grown more in these last 6 months than the 28 years I’ve been alive.”
“What I said was extremely hurtful. I would fully understand if I was never allowed to race another NASCAR race, again. But, I hope that I will get that opportunity to race.”
“With that platform, I feel like I can do some good things,” Larson concluded.