NASCAR star Kyle Larson was fired today by Chip Ganassi Racing after the driver dropped the n-word during a live stream virtual car race Sunday night.
Larson, 27, who was suspended indefinitely from NASCAR on Monday, has now been dropped by Ganassi, ESPN reported. Before this incident, Larson was considered the top free agent in NASCAR and was expected to bring down an eight-figure salary.
“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” Ganassi told ESPN. “As we’ve 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.”
Larson let the racially offensive word slip while competing in an eNASCAR iRacing Pro event. These virtual races were set up in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Larson lost communication with his spotter, and while checking the mic, he uttered, “You can’t hear me?” and followed it up with n*gger, according to The Associated Press.
One fun feature of the iRacing platform is that drivers can trash talk each other during the races. Fans can listen in on the banter via the gaming app Twitch.
Larson apologized on Twitter saying “I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said and there’s no excuse for that,” but just as he predicted when he said “I understand the damage is probably unrepairable,” his apology doesn’t appear to be enough to stop the backlash.
— Kyle Larson (@KyleLarsonRacin) April 13, 2020
His sponsors, including McDonald’s, Credit One Bank and Fiserv, a financial services technology company, ended their sponsorship deals. Chevrolet also suspended its personal services relationship with him. The only sponsor that appears to have stuck with Larson thus far is Plan B Sales and Marketing. Brent Powell, president of Plan B, said Larson called him to personally “express his regret” about using the slur.
Larson has now been ordered to complete sensitivity training.