Photo: Stephen A. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Chip Ganassi Racing Boots Larson Following Firestorm Over Racial Slur

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

A little more than 36 hours after Kyle Larson uttered a racial slur during an iRacing event on Sunday night, he now finds himself without a ride after Chip Ganassi Racing terminated his contract.

The team made the move official on Tuesday morning, releasing the following statement about its decision to end its relationship with the 27-year old.

“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.“

Since his words were broadcast to the world Sunday night, Larson has found himself in a firestorm, with CGR and NASCAR suspending him indefinitely, followed by at least three of his major sponsors electing to end their relationships with him as well before Ganassi made the final decision to remove him from his contract with the team.

A dirt track ace that made the transition into stock cars, Larson had been with the team full-time since 2014, piloting the No. 42 Chevrolet to six NASCAR Cup Series wins, along with nine of his 12 Xfinity Series wins coming under the Chip Ganassi Racing banner.

The Elk Grove, California native had made the Playoffs the past four seasons, with his sixth place points finish in 2019 being the best of his career. Through the first four races of the 2020 season, Larson had scored one top-five finish and three top-10 finishes, currently sitting seventh in the points standings.

Before the incident this weekend, Larson was considered to be one of the top free agents in the Cup Series, as he was in the last year of his contract with Ganassi and was gearing up to entertain offers from some of the biggest teams in the sport to land his services for 2021 and beyond.

Larson has apologized for his remarks, releasing the following statement on his social media channels, but in the end, it was not enough to salvage his ride with the No. 42 team at Chip Ganassi Racing.

“I just want to say I’m sorry. I made a mistake, said the word that should never, ever be said,” Larson 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.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.