Kyle Larson, the stock car racer who said the N-word in an April iRacing livestream, will return to NASCAR next year.
In a statement released Monday, the auto racing sanctioning and operating company announced that the 28-year-old will be reinstated after they indefinitely suspended him for using the racial slur.
“NASCAR continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion across our sport,” their statement read. “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.”
ESPN reports that Larson, who is half-Japanese, spent the past six months immersed in diversity programs that helped him gain an understanding of racial injustice.
“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 was quoted saying.
Under the terms of his reinstatement, Larson will continue to take training and engagement classes through 2023, as well as further his work with the Urban Youth Racing School (UYRS) and Rev Racing, the competition arm of NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity Program.
Larson will also be required to give speeches where he will share his experiences with various sporting communities.
During the April event, Larson was heard muttering, “You can’t hear me? Hey, ------,” after he appeared to have trouble communicating with his fellow drivers.
Though he issued an apology on social media, he was fired from Chip Ganassi Racing days later.
Larson later told The Associated Press on August 19, “I was just ignorant. And immature. I didn’t understand the negativity and hurt that comes with that word.”
Per ESPN, Larson is believed to be getting a spot at Hendrick Motorsports, though his car number and sponsors are not yet clear.