Just one day after NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing suspended NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson, car owner Chip Ganassi has fired Larson in what he said was an “emotional call”. The move came after a number of the number 42 car’s sponsors began telling Ganassi that they would no longer sponsor the driver.
Car sponsors include McDonald’s, Credit One Bank, and Chevrolet.
During an iRacing event on April 12, Larson was heard uttering a racial slur derogatory to people of colour. Reportedly Larson was having communication difficulties with his headset and his spotter. Larson asked, you can’t hear me…followed by the slur.
Larson, whose grandparents were among the thousands of Japanese immigrants forced into camps during World War II is the only driver of Japanese descent to win a major race in NASCAR.
Larson has since apologized for his actions…
“I made a mistake, said the word that should never, ever be said. There is no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way. It is just an awful thing to say. I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community and especially the African-American community. I understand the damage is probably unrepairable and I own up to that.”
His mistake comes at a high price; not only does Larson lose whatever salary he would make in 2020, he would have been a free agent at the end of the season with the hopes of a large contract on the horizon.
Larson has won six NASCAR Cup Series races since he began driving the number 42 car.
Chip Ganassi Racing issued a statement on the matter saying, “after much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson. 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 approp course of action to take.”
Owner of a sprint car in the World of Outlaws, Kyle Larson Racing fields a Chevrolet with Lucas Oil as one of its sponsors; who has also dropped sponsorship with Larson.
A prolific driver, Larson will get behind the wheel of any style car. He also owns a midge car that he himself has driven to eight of nine wins including the annual Chili Bowl.