NASCAR clears Kyle Larson to return to sport in 2021

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Kyle Larson will be clear to compete in NASCAR on Jan. 1, 2021, the sanctioning body announced Monday.

NASCAR suspended Larson April 13, a day after he uttered a racial slur during an esports racing game. Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson a day later. NASCAR required Larson to attend sensitivity training. Larson completed the training by May 6.

NASCAR stated in making its ruling on Larson:

“NASCAR continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion across our sport. Kyle Larson has fulfilled the requirements set by NASCAR, and has taken several voluntary measures, to better educate himself so that he can use his platform to help bridge the divide in our country. Larson’s indefinite suspension has been lifted. Under the terms of his reinstatement, he will be cleared to return to all NASCAR racing activities effective January 1, 2021.”

As part of the terms of his reinstatement, Larson will have follow up training with RISE through 2023. RISE is the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality, a national nonprofit that educates and empowers the sports community to eliminate racial discrimination, champion social justice and improve race relations. Larson also will do several speaking engagements within the NASAR community and serve as a coach/mentor for the Urban Youth Racing School and Rev Racing.

Said Larson in a statement:

“I’m truly grateful to everyone at NASCAR and appreciative of their process. The work I’ve done over the last six months has had a major impact on me. I will make the most of this opportunity and look forward to the future.”

Larson detailed his personal journey of reflection since losing his NASCAR ride in an Oct. 4 essay posted on his website.

“Since April, I’ve done a lot of reflecting,” Larson wrote. “I realized how little I really knew about the African-American experience in this country and racism in general. Educating myself is something I should’ve done a long time ago, because it would’ve made me a better person – the kind of person who doesn’t casually throw around an awful, racist word. The kind who makes an effort to understand the hate and oppression it symbolizes and the depth of pain it has caused Black people throughout history and still to this day. It was past time for me to shut up, listen and learn.”