Kyle Larson Applies for NASCAR Reinstatement after Ban for Using Racial Slur in eSport Tournament

Former NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has applied to be reinstated in the sport six months after he was fired by his team and handed an indefinite ban from NASCAR for uttering a racial slur during an eSports game.

NASCAR confirmed in a statement on Friday it had received the application from the 2014 Cup Rookie of the Year and it was considering its next steps. Earlier on Friday, the 28-year-old told CBS This Morning he felt he had matured enormously since he was banned from the sport in April.

"I feel like I've definitely grown more in these last six months than I have in the 28 years I've been alive," he said.

Earlier this month, Larson, who has 12 wins combined across 331 races NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series events, explained he had used his suspension to learn about racial issues in the U.S.

"I realized how little I really knew about the African-American experience in this country and racism in general," he wrote in an essay posted on his website on October 4.

"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."

Larson was taking part in the Monza Madness iRacing exhibition on April 12 when he addressed a fellow participant, who had Japanese-American heritage, with a racial slur.

The Twitch stream of another competitor taking part in the event caught the exchange across the audio channel drivers use to interact with each other.

A day after the incident emerged, NASCAR suspended him indefinitely and required him to attend sensitivity training.

"NASCAR has made diversity and inclusion a priority and will not tolerate the type of language used by Kyle Larson during Sunday's iRacing event," the organization said in a statement.

"Our Member Conduct Guidelines are clear in this regard, and we will enforce these guidelines to maintain an inclusive environment for our entire industry and fan base."

Chip Ganassi Racing suspended Larson without pay, before firing him a day later ending a relationship that dated all the way back to 2014 when the driver made his NASCAR Cup debut.

"We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event," the team said on April 12.

"The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable."

Chevrolet, the manufacturer for Chip Ganassi Racing, also immediately severed the ties with Larson, as did a series of personal sponsors including McDonald's, Credit One Bank and Clover.

iRacing, the organizer of the event Larson was competing in when he uttered the racial slur, also suspended him indefinitely.

"Kyle Larson's language last night during a streamed online race was both offensive and inappropriate, and in violation of our sporting code," it said.

"As such, Kyle Larson has been suspended indefinitely from the iRacing service."

Larson completed the mandatory sensitivity training in early May but has remained suspended up until now because he had not applied for reinstatement until Friday.

Kyle Larson, NASCAR
Kyle Larson, driver of the #42 McDonald's Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series FanShield 500 at Phoenix Raceway on March 7 in Avondale, Arizona. Larson was fired by his team in April for uttering a racial slur. Christian Petersen/Getty