© New Zealand Broadcasting School 2022

Western Springs regular has been fired by NASCAR after using the N-word

Emma Olsen
Kyle Larson at a NASCAR race meet
NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has been fired for a racial slur.  FlickR/McCracken

NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has been fired after using the N-word in an iRacing event.

Kyle Larson, who is one of the Auckland-based Western Springs Speedways most decorated International drivers has been fired by his NASCAR Racing Team after using the N-word in an iRacing event.

On Monday, Chip Ganassi sent out a statement on Twitter which expressed their disappointment in Larson.

"The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable."

The 27-year-olds NASCAR team initially chose to suspend him without pay while they worked through the situation with all appropriate parties. However, yesterday they came back with the announcement that they would be ending their relationship with Larson.

"As we continued to evaluate the situation with all relevant parties, it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take."

Larson was a part of a nationally televised broadcast in the US. The iRacing event was designed to attract fans to watch while there is a cancellation of all racing amid COVID.

Drivers and their spotters were able to speak with one another through their headsets. Larson seemed to lose communication with his spotter at one point during the virtual race, and asked his spotter "You can't hear me? Hey, N****."

The racist slur was directed at his spotter, despite him being caucasian.

Other drivers in the race heard Larson and said "Kyle, you're talking to everyone bud". Larson replied with "Oh damn, you did not just hear that. Don't say anything."

Yesterday Larson sent out a video statement on Twitter declaring how sorry he was. 

"Last night I made a mistake and said a word that should never, ever be said and there's no excuse for that. I wasn't raised that way, you know, it's just an awful thing to say and 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. But, I just want to let you all know how sorry I am, and I hope everybody is staying safe during these crazy times."

NASCAR also sent out a statement on Twitter which stated how they have made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday's iRacing event.

Larson has been ordered by NASCAR to complete a sensitivity training programme before they will consider lifting his suspension. 

He has been racing NASCAR's since 2012, after transitioning from primarily racing sprint cars. Larson has raced in the International Series at Western Spring Speedway for nine years now. 

Whether or not he will be allowed to come back to NZ and race for a 10th year, Western Springs Speedway chose not to comment. 

Western Springs Speedway Race Track
Western Springs Speedway Race Track Flickr