This week, Kyle Larson officially applied for NASCAR reinstatement after being removed from competition after using a racial slur during a public but unofficial iRacing event on April 13, 2020. This does not mean that he has been formally reinstated—NASCAR officials have yet to decide on a result.
Larson has been easing himself back into the public eye prior to his application. He has conducted an interview with AP and wrote a blog of apology on his own website. Most recently, he appeared on the CBS This Morning program on Friday. You can watch the segment below.
“I know deep down I’m not a racist,” Larson said in the interview. “I said a racist word, and I can fully understand why people would label me a racist.”
He’s done his best to prove he’s educated himself, and he left a positive impression on the folks at CBS. Larson has worked with people of color since his expulsion from NASCAR, has traveled the country in an effort to learn more about what it’s like to be Black in America, and has hired a diversity coach to help him understand the impact of his words. He has also completed the mandatory sensitivity training required of any driver aiming to return to the series after an incident of this kind.
It’s likely that fans will see Larson back in a NASCAR Cup Series car for 2021. While speculation currently rests on him joining Hendrick Motorsports, it is unlikely an announcement will be made before the end of the year. After all, NASCAR has yet to make a decision on Larson’s case, and Rick Hendrick has previously mentioned that he won’t be making any big driver lineup announcements until after the playoffs.
Larson has been competing in the Cup Series since 2013 and has since accumulated six wins, eight pole positions, and 101 top-10 finishes. His best overall finish in the series’ points standings is sixth. Since his ejection from the Cup Series, Larson has focused his attention on dirt racing, where he's won over 40 races this year alone.