Chip Ganassi Racing fires Kyle Larson after racial slur

DOVER, DE - MAY 05: Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 DC Solar Chevrolet, sits in his car during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 5, 2018 in Dover, Delaware. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Chip Ganassi Racing has released driver Kyle Larson. The team made the announcement via press release Tuesday morning:

“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 appropriate course of action to take.”

The release comes a day after Larson was suspended by the team and NASCAR after he was heard using a racial slur during a livestream of an online race he was competing in on Sunday night.

Larson has joined drivers from NASCAR and other racing disciplines including sim racers for an unofficial iRacing event organized by Landon Cassill on a virtual version of the historic oval track in Monza, Italy, which hasn’t been used for real racing in decades.

A pop-up on the screen indicated that Larson was the one speaking when someone could be heard saying “you can’t hear me? Hey, n—-r.”

NASCAR XFinity Series driver Anthony Alfredo responded, “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud.”

Competitor Aron MacEchern added, “Yep, we heard that.”

It wasn’t clear who Larson was directing the comment to.

The team suspended Larson Monday and NASCAR followed up with an indefinite suspension issuing a behavioral level for an infraction under “Sections 12.1 General Procedures; 12.8.1 Member Conduct Guidelines” and adding that “Kyle Larson has been indefinitely suspended from NASCAR and must attend sensitivity training as directed by NASCAR.” They delivered the penalty report with a statement:

“NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event. Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base.”

Larson was seventh in the NASCAR Cup standings before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. He is among several drivers who have been taking part in various events being organized on the iRacing simulation racing platform, including the official eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series.

Before the day was over, Credit One, McDonalds and Chevrolet had all dropped their sponsorship.