The race was virtual, but the consequences of using a racial slur are very real for NASCAR driver Kyle Larson. The 27-year-old has been suspended without pay by his team, Chip Ganassi Racing, and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for using the N-word during an iRacing tournament livestreamed on Twitch Sunday night, USA Today reports. "I can't see it. You can't hear me? Hey (N-word,)" Larson said after apparently experiencing communications difficulties with his spotter, who is white. Another driver told him: "Kyle, you're talking to everyone, bud." The iRacing platform has also suspended Larson indefinitely for using "offensive and inappropriate" language, reports the AP.
Larson, whose mother is Japanese-American, was one of the first drivers from NASCAR's "Drive for Diversity" program to make it into the NASCAR Cup Series, CNN reports. He tweeted a video apology Monday. "Last night I made a mistake and said the word that should never, ever be said. And there's no excuse for that," Larson said. "I feel very sorry for my family, my friends, my partners, the NASCAR community, and especially the African-American community," he added. "I understand that the damage is probably unrepairable. I own up to that. I just wanted to let you all know how sorry I am." NASCAR says Larson will have to complete a sensitivity training course before he can be reinstated. (Read more NASCAR stories.)