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April 14, 2020

Chip Ganassi Racing ends relationship with Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing officials announced Tuesday that the organization has parted ways with NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson after Larson’s use of a racial slur on a live stream during an iRacing event April 12.

Chip Ganassi Racing had initially announced a suspension without pay for Larson on Monday before deciding to sever its ties with the driver, who has been with the team since 2013. That Monday announcement was swiftly followed by Larson’s indefinite suspension from NASCAR.

“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” read the organization’s statement. “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 sanctioning body issued a behavioral penalty April 13, citing Sections 12.1 (General Procedures) and 12.8 (NASCAR Member Conduct Guidelines) of the official Rule Book. Larson must also attend sensitivity training as directed by NASCAR should he wish to be reinstated.

Earlier Monday afternoon, Larson posted a video on his social media handles, apologizing for his actions.

The full text of Larson’s statement: “Hey, I just want to say I’m sorry. Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said. There’s no excuse for that. I wasn’t raised that way. It’s 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. But I just want to let you all know how sorry I am, and I hope everybody is staying safe during these crazy times. Thank you.”

Larson has earned six victories, 56 top fives, 101 top 10s and eight Busch Pole Awards in his NASCAR Cup Series career. All but four of his 223 Cup Series starts have come in the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet.

Larson registered one top-five finish and three top 10s in four starts this year before the COVID-19 pandemic placed the NASCAR season on hold. His contract with Ganassi was set to expire at the end of the year, making him a free agent.