Kyle Larson may be back in the driver’s seat of a NASCAR Sprint Cup car, but he knows he still has a long way to go before he expects to regain all that he’s lost.
Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson in April after he used a racial slur during an iRacing event. NASCAR suspended him indefinitely. He appealed that decision, though, and NASCAR has reinstated him effective in January.
He’s since signed a major deal with Hendrick Motorsport to drive the No. 5 car.
“It’s going to take a lot more than these six months,” Larson recognizes. “I know it’s going to take a long time, and I know there are some people who are never ever going to forgive me, but I am not going to let that stop me from trying to prove who I really am.”
Larson tells Earnhardt Jr. about his visits to Minneapolis before and after George Floyd’s murder and how impactful it was to him. He recalls wondering why he saw so much destruction to the city’s property. When he received the response, “When they haven’t felt like they’ve been accepted by their community, they don’t take any ownership in it,” Larson was taken aback.
He admits the moment really opened his eyes. “That was a big moment for me, you know, to realize the privilege that I have grown up with.”
“I’ve gone through so much these last six months, and I think right after it happened, I think instantly it changes you,” he says. “But then as you educate yourself more, it definitely continues to change you and I don’t plan on stopping what I’ve been doing,” he adds to clarify that he plans to continue his community outreach.
Larson Posted Apology for His Comment
“The first lesson: The N-word is not mine to use. 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. I truly didn’t say the word with the intention of degrading or demeaning another person, but my ignorance ended up insulting an entire community of people who, in the year 2020, still have to fight for justice and equality. When I look back at these last few months and see all the protests and unrest in our country, and the pain Black people are going through, it hurts to know that what I said contributed to that pain.”
Larson said he went to Minneapolis to visit a memorial to George Floyd. Floyd was the black man killed during an encounter with Minneapolis police.
Where Does Kyle Larson Go From Here?
Larson knows he’s going to have to prove himself again.
“I think the thing that goes the furthest is just actions, and actually doing things rather than talking about it or trying to advertise what you’ve been doing,” said Larson, according to 247 Sports. “… Because I think people will see through the BS.”
Larson told Earnhardt he knows that he has a lot to prove personally and professionally.
“Once I kind of got to work and could see that maybe there was a light at the end of the tunnel, my focus was kind of back to ‘What do I need to do to better myself, but also get back to the Cup Series and be able to prove a lot of stuff personally as well as professionally?’ he said. “Because I feel like I’ve got a lot of – not unfinished business – but I feel like I’m definitely talented enough and deserving to be a Cup racer. … There’s a lot left to prove personally, but also professionally. That’s why I’ve kind of dedicated myself to try and get back.”