NASCAR Cup Series

Kyle Larson released by Chip Ganassi Racing

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Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Roughly 36 hours ago, Kyle Larson was one of the NASCAR Cup Series‘ rising stars who was gearing up for a round of iRacing with his fellow racers. Roughly 36 hours later, he is out of a ride. On Tuesday, the fallout from his indefinite suspension reached its peak when Chip Ganassi Racing announced they have parted ways with him.

“After much consideration, Chip Ganassi Racing has determined that it will end its relationship with driver Kyle Larson,” read a CGR statement. “As we said before, the comments that Kyle made were both offensive and unacceptable especially given the values of our organization. As we continue to evaluate the situation with all of the relevant parties, it became obvious that this was the only appropriate course of action to take.”

Larson found himself in hot water after he was overheard saying a racial slur during Sunday’s Monza Madness iRacing event. The following day, CGR and NASCAR announced he would be indefinitely suspended and ordered to undergo sensitivity training. Although he issued an apology, many of his sponsors condemned his words and announced they had severed ties with the driver, though they intend to remain with CGR.

The California native joined CGR’s Cup team in 2014. After winning Rookie of the Year honours, he has scored six career victories at the top level, including a four-win campaign in 2017, with a best points finish of sixth in 2019. Across the first four races in 2020, he was seventh in the standings with top-ten finishes in all but one.

Chevrolet has also formally ended its partnership with Larson after previously announcing it had suspended the relationship. In addition to fielding the Camaro at the Cup level, the manufacturer has provided support for Larson’s World of Outlaws team.

“As previously stated, Chevrolet does not tolerate the inappropriate behavior exhibited by Kyle Larson,” a company spokesperson said. “As a result, Chevrolet is immediately terminating its relationship with Mr. Larson.”

A replacement in the #42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE has not been announced due to the pandemic. However, many speculate Ross Chastain will take over the ride. A member of the Ganassi camp and the 2019 Truck Series runner-up, Chastain has long been considered a favourite for one of CGR’s Cup rides once a spot became available.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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