Kyle Larson, NASCAR, 2020

NASCAR investigating Larson’s use of a racial slur during simrace


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NASCAR driver Kyle Larson could face sanctions by the championship after he was heard using a racial slur during a simrace promoted by the series.

The Ganassi driver was competing in Sunday’s Monza Madness race which was broadcast on NASCAR’s online racing platform eNASCAR. He was speaking in the live chat feed among several of the 62 drivers competing, which was broadcast on Twitch.

NASCAR has confirmed it is looking into the matter. A spokesperson told RaceFans: “NASCAR is aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information.”

NASCAR has previously sanctioned drivers for using language which brings the championship into disrepute. In 2013 Jeremy Clements, a racer in one of NASCAR’s lower leagues, used the same ‘n-word’ as Larson in a post-race interview and was suspended under the series’ code of conduct. He returned to competition after serving a two-race ban.

Larson was among a group of NASCAR and IndyCar drivers who participated in yesterday’s race, including Josef Newgarden, Tony Kanaan, Patricio O’Ward, Oliver Askew and James Hinchcliffe.

Conor Daly was one of those who was heard responding to Larson’s remark on the feed. Daly lost the backing of sponsor Lilly Diabetes in a real-world NASCAR XS race at Road America two years ago after it emerged his father used the same racial slur in a radio interview in the early eighties. Former F1 racer Derek Daly said he regretted the remarks and apologised for them.

Other NASCAR drivers have faced real-world consequences for their actions in simraces. Last week Blue Emu pulled its sponsorship of Bubba Wallace after he retired from the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational due to damage. “We’re interested in drivers, not quitters,” a social media account for the muscle and joint cream brand stated.

Larson ran 12th early in Sunday’s race but fell to 60th in the 62-car field which was racing on the historic Monza banking. The race was won by Justin Botelho.

This article has been updated following a response from NASCAR.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “NASCAR investigating Larson’s use of a racial slur during simrace”

  1. Maybe the drivers should wear face masks – to protect against COVID-19 and dampen the expletives?

  2. Oh boy. This crisis is really causing all the sponsorships to dry up.

  3. CAUGHT! Pfew! Yes!! I`m sure everyone feels much safer now.

    (i`m not defending racism, this whole thing between racism and language-forbidding is a complex issue, but i guess what i`m saying is that it`s probably more complex than the way we decided to treat it in our societies, and the tones we choose according to that – no constructive point here, please move on)

    1. Theres always someone who believes its not that serious. Always.

      And its usually those who would love to use these types of foul words, openly.

  4. Imagine being more annoyed about people getting in trouble for saying racial slurs than about actual racism.

  5. Wait, so two things…

    Daly lost a sponsor because of something his dad said 30 years ago?

    Blue emu pulled out because a driver retired from a SimRace with damage, calling him a quitter?

    What. Has. The. World. come. to.

    1. At least you know which brands are into virtue signalling now.

    2. This article *really* loses the context of the Bubba Wallace incident though. He didn’t just retire due to damage; he “rage quit” the race – and rather childishly at that. THAT’s where the “quitter” remark comes in – not for retiring a damaged car but for quitting and coming off as a terrible sport. He received a lot of flak from viewers and others immediately afterwards.

      This article’s quick synopsis seriously underplays it

  6. I don’t know him, so I googled him and found out this guy got to NASCAR through a “Drive for Diversity” programme the series runs.

    1. I guess there weren’t enough white guys named Kyle in the series?

      1. @repete86 he’s asian american, it seems. His mother is half Japanese. Apparently he’s the most sucessful driver to come out of that programme.

  7. Not surprised. I beleive it happens alot in F1 too just not caught on camera as much.
    Imagine watching the race as a minorty and hearing racial slurs casually thrown around. Must be a real trun off.

  8. Thanks for removal of my post. Great freedom of speach.

    1. You have no right to freedom of speech on a private website.

      1. Bill that is not how freedom of speech works, by that reckoning saying the n-word should be fine if said “prvate” website allows.

        1. This exactly how it works @peartree. You follow the rules issued by the editor of the website, who must in turn follow the law of the state they live in.
          Then, again, if said word is not illegal where you live and permitted by the site owner: you can use it.

          But in the end: who needs racial slurs anyway?

          1. @x303 …no word is illegal.

          2. No one said you were breaking a law. They said you can’t post here. Keith owns the site and makes the rules. He owes nothing to you.

          3. Well, words by themselves aren’t illegal, but speeches can be depending where you live @peartree.

        2. If you want to say the n word there are plenty of sites on the internet that will allow it. Thankfully, this isn’t one of them. Freedom of speech only applies to the governments restrictions on your speech. This is site is voluntary and you don’t have to be here.

    2. @montalvo the concept of freedom of speech may give you the right to transmit your thoughts, but it does not mean that you are freed from the consequences of your actions.

      Furthermore, the internationally definition that is agreed upon between nations on the concept of freedom of speech notes that there may be circumstances where that right may, in turn, be overruled by other rights – for example, if you were to use it to express support for a racist ideology, then the right to freedom of speech may be overruled by that of the rights of others to not be persecuted on grounds of race or ethnicity.

      1. I was just talking about the silly political correctness these days, and that the color of your skin determines if you can say certain words or not, even if it is totally out of context for being a racial slur, for example, sing-a-long a song with the no-no word in it. Plus the fact that nobody bats an eye when it is the other way around. I just don’t get that.

    3. You should really look up the meaning of freedom of speech before you claim it has been violated.

  9. Let me be clear, I am 100% okay with him being penalised, sanctioned, etc. That is not sarcasm. I think anyone who has slurs so prominent in their vocabulary that they cannot even hold back when their livelihood depends on it deserve no quarter.

    But what happened? Was the slur tossed out during random conversation or… I’m not asking because I think it matters, it doesn’t. I’m asking because I didn’t see it and there does not appear to be any links to any articles describing events.

    Anyway, I would hope they throw the book at him. But being the US and NASCAR, I’m not sure that will happen long term.

    1. Search youtube.

    2. He was asking if people could hear him, then said the n word. Everyone got quiet and then someone told him everyone could hear him. Conor Daly then said “Yikes”.

  10. Other NASCAR drivers have faced real-world consequences for their actions in simraces. Last week Blue Emu pulled its sponsorship of Bubba Wallace after he retired from the eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational due to damage. “We’re interested in drivers, not quitters,”

    Wait, what? That’s not even the real thing…

    1. @x303 – I know, right? It must have been quite an egregious quit for them to pull sponsorship due to quitting an video game.

    2. @x303 It was broadcast live on cable. Wallace was under a contract because the sponsorship was on the vehicle that was representing him as a driver in the game. It very much was a poor reflection of the driver, and if he wasn’t aware how serious NASCAR, the fans, the sponsors and the MONEY INVOLVED IN TELEVISION BROADCASTS, then he is now.

      And maybe you should be, too, because your comment and that of @hobo shows you guys clearly haven’t figured it out.

  11. Kyle Larson has been suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing without pay.

    Likewise, NASCAR has indefinitely suspended Kyle Larson for violating the NASCAR member conduct guidelines. He will be required to attend sensitivity training before he can be reinstated.

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