NASCAR cleared Kyle Larson to return after his suspension was lifted on Monday.
He was suspended in April after using the N-word while playing in an online racing event in which viewers can follow along. Larson mistakenly thought he was speaking over a private channel.
Subsequently, Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson, and he lost all his sponsors over the incident.
Larson spent the last six months fulfilling “the requirements set by NASCAR, and has taken several voluntary measures, to better educate himself,” NASCAR said in a statement.
He published an essay on his website earlier this month, where he took responsibility for his actions. Larson, who is half Japanese, apologized for using the racial slur and said he should have known better.
Larson hired a diversity coach, spoke with Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee at her community center, and volunteered at a food drive organized by retired soccer player Tony Sanneh.
“The N-word is not mine to use. It cannot be part of my vocabulary. The history of the word is connected to slavery, injustice, and trauma that is deep and has gone on for far too long,” he said in his essay. “I truly didn’t say the word with the intention of degrading or demeaning another person, but my ignorance ended up insulting an entire community of people who, in the year 2020, still have to fight for justice and equality.”
“I want them to know that words do matter. Apologizing for your mistakes matters. Accountability matters. Forgiveness matters. Treating others with respect matters,” Larson continued. “I will not stop listening and learning, but for me now, it’s about action – doing the right things, being a part of the solution, and writing a new chapter that my children will be proud to read.”
NASCAR cleared Larson to race effective January 1, 2021.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) October 19, 2020