JTG-Daugherty Racing co-owner Brad Daugherty believes that Kyle Larson’s use of a racial slur during a virtual race in April set NASCAR back.
Larson was fired from Chip Ganassi Racing two days after he said the N-word during a virtual race on April 12. The 27-year-old driver was set to be the most-sought-after free agent in NASCAR after the 2020 season. Instead, he’s now racing sprint cars as NASCAR has gotten its season resumed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
Just how far back did Larson’s slur set NASCAR back? Daugherty, a former NBA player and NASCAR analyst for ESPN, thinks it’s a decade.
“I’ve spoken to Kyle Larson a lot through the years. Very good race car driver,” Daugherty said. “But I’m very disappointed, as many are … and he is paying a heavy price for it. …
“It made it really tough because it set the sport back. A sport that has already struggled to try to pull itself up in diversification efforts. It set us back another decade, too. He seems to be very contrite and learned an incredible and very expensive lesson, if anything.”
JTG-Daugherty Racing fields cars for Ryan Preece and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. in the Cup Series. Daugherty is the most prominent black team owner in NASCAR, a series that has struggled with a lack of diversity throughout its entire history.
Darrell Wallace is the only black driver racing full-time in any of NASCAR’s top three series and no women have made a start in any Cup Series or Xfinity Series race in 2020.
Wallace was also one of the few NASCAR drivers who spoke out after Larson’s use of the slur. Wallace said he told Larson that it was way too easy for him to use the slur.
Larson was fired after primary sponsors Credit One and McDonald’s and CGR car manufacturer Chevrolet cut ties with him. He was replaced by Matt Kenseth for the remainder of the 2020 season.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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