NASCAR Cup Series

Sponsors take action after Kyle Larson slur, suspension

3 Mins read
Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In less than 24 hours, Kyle Larson‘s NASCAR Cup Series career has taken a turn for the worse. Barely a day after he dropped a racial slur during Sunday evening’s Monza Madness race on iRacing, leading to an indefinite suspension by NASCAR, many of his and Chip Ganassi Racing‘s sponsors have terminated or frozen their relationships with the driver. Still, other personal sponsors have reaffirmed they will stay with him.

Credit One Bank was the first to take action. Shortly after the suspension, the bank denounced Larson’s actions before issuing a second statement announcing they will stop sponsoring him. Credit One had sponsored Larson’s Cup cars since 2017.

“As stated earlier, Credit One Bank denounces the highly offensive language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday’s iRacing event,” the company said. “In addition to the quick actions by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing, Credit One Bank is terminating its sponsorship of Kyle Larson.”

McDonald’s, a longtime Ganassi sponsor who has appeared on Larson’s car since 2018 but has sponsored his lower series rides before that (including three races in the now-Xfinity Series in 2013), severed ties with him. However, the fast-food restaurant chain will stick with CGR.

“We were extremely disappointed and appalled to hear about this incident. The comments made by Kyle Larson are insensitive, offensive and not reflective of our inclusive values and will not be tolerated. McDonald’s is taking immediate action to terminate the relationship with Larson.”

Chevrolet also followed suit, though rather than ending its relationship entirely, it has placed the partnership on hold. While the manufacturer does not necessarily sponsor Larson, Chevy has a say in driver decisions and moves.

“Chevrolet has suspended its relationship with Kyle Larson indefinitely, as we do not tolerate this behavior,” a Chevrolet spokesperson said. “We will continue to monitor the events surrounding Mr. Larson & are prepared to take additional action.”

Credit: NASCAR

AdventHealth, who has sponsored CGR on various occasions, condemned Larson’s words but will stay with Ganassi. The hospital system began sponsoring Larson in 2020.

“As an organization that is focused on creating a culture of inclusiveness and wholeness for our patients and team members, we denounce Kyle Larson’s use of a racial slur during a virtual race over the weekend,” the Florida-based company said. “AdventHealth was not a sponsor of the event, but does have an ongoing partnership with his team, Chip Ganassi Racing. We support the decisive actions taken by NASCAR and Chip Ganassi Racing.

Fiserv, who had sponsored Larson through its Clover brand since 2018, and longtime partner Lucas Oil joined the exodus with their own announcements on Monday evening.

“We denounce the language used during Sunday’s iRacing event,” Fiserv stated. “We support the actions taken today by NASCAR & the Chip Ganassi Racing Team, and are terminating our sponsorship of Kyle Larson.”

Like Chevrolet, Lucas Oil is suspending the partnership but is not necessarily cancelling it: “Due to the offensive language used by NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson during Sunday night’s iRacing event, Lucas Oil is indefinitely suspending its sponsorship with him, effective immediately. Lucas Oil has a zero-tolerance policy regarding the use of such harmful language, and we stand by the actions taken by iRacing, NASCAR, and the Chip Ganassi Racing Team.”

On the other hand, various partners have remained committed to Larson. Finley Farms, who sponsors Larson’s sprint car racing efforts, tweeted they will continue to support him, noting “We all make mistakes, and deserve a second chance!”

Brent Powell of NASCAR merchandise distributor Plan B Sales, who have worked with Larson since 2013, affirmed in a Facebook post that his company will continue their relationship.

“As many of you know, we have been associated with Kyle Larson since 2013, from getting to him sign die cast in our warehouse, bringing him in to interact with fans during our bi-annual events during race week to sponsoring him 2 years in a row for the Winter Nationals sprint car races in Yuma,” Powell began. “Kyle has signed 1000’s and 1000’s of die cast cars for us and we have likely spent 20+ hours with and around him. Never once has he come across to us as a person with ill intent towards anyone and he would be the last person I would ever associate with any type of racism.

“Kyle called me personally earlier today to express his regret fullness about what transpired. He sounded very somber and was very apologetic. I told Kyle I was proud of the way he is handling it, being up front, not trying to hide, admitting his mistake and taking the steps to learn and grow from it.”

“Although we do not condone or appreciate the slur Kyle used during his iRacing event last night at the same time we know he is an awesome young man that made a mistake and we are going to stand behind him 100% and help any way we can.”

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