PITTSBURGH, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Kyle Larson is hoping to “do some good things” if he is given the chance to race on the NASCAR circuit again.
In his first national television interview since he was fired from his Chip Ganassi Racing ride this past spring, Larson told James Brown on CBS This Morning that he understands his use of the “N” word during an iRacing event was a mistake.
“I said a racist word and I can fully understand why people would label me a racist,” said Larson. “It’s not my word to use. I need to get it out of my vocabulary and I have.”
Brown asked Larson, whose mother is Japanese American, how he was able to use the word so casually while talking with his spotter.
“I’d raced with him in Australia and the group we were with kind of used the word casually, as a greeting,” Larson explained. “I didn’t use it in a way to degrade or insult anyone.”
It didn’t matter how Larson intended to use the word, what mattered was the pain the word causes for so many people.
“I guess I didn’t think of how it took African Americans back to slavery and things like that and injustice and stuff that they have had to work so hard to overcome,” said Larson.
Now Larson is working to overcome a career and life-changing mistake by going through sensitivity training, diversity inclusion training and by visiting The Legacy Museum in Montgomery Alabama. The museum documents the history of slavery and racism in America.
Larson is also spending time at Philadelphia’s Urban Youth Racing School, a nonprofit that offers science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education to traditionally underserved youth ages 8 to 18. Larson has worked with the program for years and its co-founders, Michelle and Anthony Martin, came forward to support and educate Larson following the mistake.
“I had the opportunity to meet with Kyle face to face after it happened,” Michelle Martin explained to Brown. “In looking in his eyes for the sincerity was ‘are you sorry that you got caught or are you really sorry that this happened?’ With our very first conversation, post the “N” word situation, was that he wanted to learn.”
Larson is also cognizant that despite what he has done to educate himself about his poor word choice, some will think he is going through the motions to get back to the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I understand people who might not know me, if they might not believe it or think that I am just checking the box and I feel like I have definitely grown more in these last six months than I have in the 28 years I have been alive,” said Larson. “I know deep down I am not a racist. What I said was extremely hurtful and I would fully understand if I was never allowed to race another NASCAR race again, but I hope I will get that opportunity to race, with that platform I think I could do some good things.”
Martin Truex Jr Victorious At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, PA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Martin Truex Jr passed teammate Denny Hamlin on lap 485 and went on the win the rain-delayed NASCAR Cup Series Blue-Emu Maximum Pain Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was Truex’s second of 2021 and 29th of his Cup Series Career.
“He (Hamlin) started getting tight, our car was getting better and better,” said Truex of the late race pass. “We were able to take advantage of it. Really happy. For whatever reason our car really turned on when the lights went down. Always good when a plan comes together and it works out the way you hoped it would.”
Hendrick Motorsports Chase Elliott finished second, his seventh top-10 finish in 13-races at Martinsville and fourth top-10 of 2021.
“Really, really hard-fought second actually for us,” said Elliott. “We were not great, but had some, I guess our strong suit was kind of early on in the run, then really faded hard, too hard there in the latter part of a run. But we never got one of those super long runs, which is probably a good thing for us because we were struggling on that end. But, yeah, proud we could fight back.”
Hamlin settled for third after leading the most laps in the race (267).
“Had a really good car on the short run all day,” said Hamlin. “Got great restarts. Was fast for 25, 30 laps. Then it seemed like guys would start catching us. Unfortunately it was just too many laps there at the end that we couldn’t hold those guys off.”
Hendrick Motorsports teammates William Byron and Kyle Larson finished fourth and fifth respectively, giving HMS three cars in the top 5.
The race featured 18-lead changes among 7-drivers and was slowed by 15-caution flags for 105-laps.
The next NASCAR Cup Series race is April 18, 2020 at Richmond Raceway.
Josh Berry Gets First Career Xfinity Series Win At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Josh Berry passed Ty Gibbs for the lead on lap 223 and stayed out front for the final 27-laps to get his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series win in the rain-delayed Cook Out 250 at Martinsville Speedway. The victory was the first career victory for Berry in 13 Xfinity Series starts.
“Man, I wanted to win so bad for these guys,” said Berry referring to his No. 8 JR Motorsports team. “They’re such a great group. I knew this would be a good opportunity to win. (Crew chief) Taylor (Moyer) called a perfect race. The car was good, and we just kept tweaking on it. The tires were pretty worn out there at the end. I was struggling a little bit with wheel-hop. This is just unbelievable.”
Berry’s JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson finished second and picked up a $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus, which eased the pain of being the runner-up.
“One hundred thousand dollars richer,” said Gragson. “Great 1-2 finish for our team at JR Motorsports. I really wanted to win there, but I was having to protect the bottom to keep the guys behind me from moving me out of the way. I couldn’t open up my arc the way I needed to and make speed.”
Daniel Hemric finished in third position followed by Gibbs, who faded to a fourth place finish. Gibbs’ teammate Brandon Jones finished fifth. Jones was the leader Friday night when storms red-flagged the event after completing 91-laps.
The race featured 13-lead changes among 9-drivers. The race was slowed by 12-caution flags for 75-laps.
The next race for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is April 24, 2021 at Talladega Superspeedway.
Mother Nature Wins At Martinsville Speedway
MARTINSVILLE, VA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Mother Nature is throwing a wrench into this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series Schedules at Martinsville Virginia.
Friday’s Xfinity race is under a red flag following 92-laps of the scheduled 250-lap event after rain showers put an end to NASCAR’s attempt to get the event finished. Joe Gibbs Racing’s Brandon Jones is scored as the leader of the race.
NASCAR has rescheduled the remainder of the event for Sunday at Noon ET.
The Cup Series race was red flagged on lap 43 because of showers. JGR’s Denny Hamlin is scored as the leader. Hamlin has led 38-laps. Team Penske’s Joey Logano started on the pole position and led the other laps.
NASCAR will restart the event on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
Per NASCAR rules, an event is considered official after half of the scheduled distance has been completed.
Both races will be broadcast live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.