NASCAR has launched an investigation into an incident that transpired during a live-stream broadcast of a virtual race on Monday morning whereby Cup Series driver Kyle Larson used a racial slur. He has also been suspended by Chip Ganassi Racing without pay.
Put together by Landon Cassill and Garrett Smithley, an iRacing event named “Monza Madness” saw a variety of professional drivers, personalities and streamers compete on virtual iteration of the treacherous Monza oval course.
During the stream, Larson was conducting a check of his microphone, when he said, “You can’t hear me?” Followed by “Hey, (N-word)”.
Those in the session who heard the slur reacted in shock, with Xfinity driver Anthony Alfredo saying “Kyle, you’re talking to everyone, bud”. This was followed by “Yep, we heard that” and “Yikes”.
NASCAR subsequently released a statement concerning the incident:
“NASCAR is aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information.”
Chip Ganassi Racing also announced that they had indefinitely suspended Larson without pay:
“We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event. The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable. As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay while we work through this situation with all appropriate parties.”
Larson has since apologised via Twitter.
The incident comes one week after fellow driver Bubba Wallace lost a sponsor after abruptly exiting an official NASCAR Esport event.