NASCAR’s Kyle Larson: ‘Absolutely no excuse for my ignorance’
NASCAR driver Bubba Wallace tweeted that he is proud of Kyle Larson for the steps he’s taken after being suspended from the series and losing his ride for using a racial slur during an online simulation race.
Wallace, NASCAR’s only full-time Black driver, was one of the first people to say Larson deserves a second chance after the April incident.
Larson, who is Japanese-American, posted an essay on his website this week detailing the efforts he’s made to better understand the issues faced by Black Americans and how hurtful his use of the N-word was to many.
“The N-word is not mine to use,” Larson wrote. “It cannot be part of my vocabulary. The history of the word is connected to slavery, injustice and trauma that is deep and has gone on for far too long.”
Larson, 28, went on to talk about his work with a diversity coach and visiting with community leaders in cities around the country, including Minneapolis.
He said one of the toughest conversations he had was with a member of his crew from Chip Ganassi Racing, Mike Metcalf, who is African American, and that “disappointing him was the same as letting down family.”
Larson also thanked his parents for their support, despite disappointing them in a “particularly hurtful manner.” His mother’s parents were held for a time in an internment camp in the U.S. during World War 2.
“There’s absolutely no excuse for my ignorance,” Larson said.
“For far too long, I was a part of a problem that’s much larger than me. I fully admit that losing my job and being publicly humiliated was how I came to understand this.”
Larson has been racing in the World of Outlaws sprint car series this year and has filed for reinstatement to NASCAR, where he is still considered a top candidate for one of the open seats next season, including the Hendrick Motorsports #88 car being vacated by Alex Bowman.
“I hope to race in NASCAR again,” Larson said.