Suspended NASCAR driver Kyle Larson says he has learned his lesson and wants to be reinstated as a driver in the series.
Larson was let go earlier this year by his team for calling a teammate a racial slur at a virtual race. He reportedly did not realize his audio was streaming on Twitch for thousands of gamers to hear, according to TMZ Sports. The incident also cost him numerous sponsorships.
Regarding the incident, Larson claims the comment was directed to a friend and not meant to be a derogatory statement.
Larson recently spoke to “CBS This Morning” host James Brown about the situation and his hope to return to racing.
“I can fully understand why people label me a racist,” he tells Brown in the interview. “I know deep down that I am not a racist.”
Larson went on to explain the situation that got him into hot water. He says the person he was talking to was a friend, who is white, and claims the derogatory term was a casual interaction in a group setting.
“I didn’t use it in a way to degrade or insult anyone,” he said. “I know it’s not my word to use. So, I need to get it out of my vocabulary and I have.”
Larson Hopes For Reinstatement
Larson says he now understands the word to be extremely hurtful and vows to never use it again. He hopes his sincerity on the issue will open up the opportunity to race again. He also says he fully understands if that opportunity never comes.
On the track, 28-year-old Larson is a rising star in the racing world.
“What I said was extremely hurtful,” he says. “But I hope I will get that opportunity to race with them (NASCAR). With that platform, I think I could do some good things.”