NASCAR driver Kyle Larson and Chip Ganassi Racing are expected to hear from race officials after he used a racial slur in a livestream broadcast of an iRacing event on Sunday night.
“NASCAR is aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information,” NASCAR said Monday in a statement.
NASCAR bylaws stipulate such actions may result in “fine and/or suspension termination or termination,” including disparaging remarks based on “race, color, creed or national origin.”
Larson, whose sponsors include McDonald’s, was participating in the exhibition virtual race and had problems with headset communication with his spotter. In one microphone check, Larson could be heard using the n-word. The entire communication was broadcast to followers on the streaming service Twitch and eNASCAR.com.
“You can’t hear me?” he said on the livestream. “Hey, (expletive).”
“Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud,” one driver replied.
A second voice on the stream, though it’s unclear if it was a driver or spotter, said, “No way did that just happen.”
Sunday’s race simulated Autodromo Nazionale Monza in Italy but was not part of the NASCAR official iRacing series. The event on Easter Sunday was held on after Bubba Wallace “rage quit” last week’s race.
Larson graduated to NASCAR through a program called “Drive for Diversity.” Larson is half Japanese. His grandparents spent time in an interment camp in California during World War II.
The other 61 drivers in the race were also on the audio session and could hear Larson’s words.
Larson, 27, is in his seventh season on the NASCAR circuit. He drives the No. 42 Camaro and is in the final year of his contract with Ganassi Racing.
He has six career Cup wins and was sixth in the final standings in 2019.
–Field Level Media