NASCAR is investigating an incident in which Cup Series driver Kyle Larson used a highly offensive racial slur during a live-stream broadcast of a virtual race on Sunday evening.
Chip Ganassi Racing driver Larson was competing in an iRacing event at Monza featuring more than 60 entries, which was put together by fellow NASCAR racers Landon Cassill and Garrett Smithley.
The 27-year-old, a graduate of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity, was broadcasting his participation on his Twitch live stream.
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Larson appeared to lose communication on his headset with his spotter during the pre-race practice session, and during a check of his microphone said, "You can't hear me?"
That was followed by, "Hey ..." and the N-word.
NASCAR issued the following statement on Monday morning: "NASCAR is aware of insensitive language used by a driver during an iRacing event on Sunday, and is currently gathering more information."
Larson, a six-time race-winner in the Cup Series who finished sixth in the standings last year, has since been suspended by CGR pending an investigation.
"We are extremely disappointed by what Kyle said last night during an iRacing Event," read the statement.
"The words that he chose to use are offensive and unacceptable.
"As of this moment we are suspending Kyle without pay while we work through this situation with all appropriate parties."
In 2013, NASCAR indefinitely suspended driver Jeremy Clements for using a racial slur in an interview.
He ended up missing two races and took part in diversity training before being reinstated, and now competes in the second-tier Xfinity Series.
The controversy surrounding Larson comes one week after driver Bubba Wallace lost a sponsor for abruptly quitting an official NASCAR virtual racing event that was televised live nationally.
He had been involved in three accidents in the first 12 laps of the 150-lap event and had already used up his two resets.