DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – NASCAR is reinstating driver Kyle Larson after suspending him for violating rules this past spring. He will be eligible to compete in NASCAR sanctioned events beginning January 1, 2021.
Larson was suspended indefinitely on April 13 for violating Sections 12.1 (General Procedures) and 12.8 (NASCAR Member Conduct Guidelines) of the NASCAR Rule Book.
During an online iRacing event on April 12, Larson used a racial slur while attempting to take with his spotter on a private channel. It turned out that Larson was speaking on a public channel and everyone heard him, including the online audience.
Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson on April 14 from his duties as driver of the No. 42 Credit One Bank/McDonald’s Chevrolet. Matt Kenseth was hired to complete the 2020 season. Ross Chastain will drive the car in 2021.
NASCAR ordered Larson to attend sensitivity training as a condition of reinstatement and is going to require him to fulfill additional requirements in order to keep his NASCAR membership current.
“NASCAR continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion across our sport,” NASCAR said in a statement. “Kyle Larson has fulfilled the requirements set by NASCAR, and has taken several voluntary measures, to better educate himself so that he can use his platform to help bridge the divide in our country. Larson’s indefinite suspension has been lifted. Under the terms of his reinstatement, he will be cleared to return to all NASCAR racing activities effective January 1, 2021.”
Last week Larson sat down with CBS Sports James Brown for his first televised interview and detailed some of the work he has been doing behind the scenes to educate himself following his remarks this spring.
Larson has six victories in 223 NASCAR Cup Series starts. He joined the circuit full-time in 2014 with Ganassi’s operation.
Chip Ganassi Fined And Suspended By NASCAR
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Team owner Chip Ganassi ended up on the NASCAR penalty report following this weekend’s events at Daytona International Speedway.
Ganassi was fined $30,000 and suspended from the next NASCAR Cup Series Championship Points Event which is Sunday at Homestead Miami Speedway.
Ganassi violated section 12.8.1.b of the NASCAR Rule Book “for bringing into the competition area a non-essential individual that was restricted from the footprint”, essentially brining someone not authorized inside the ‘bubble’ which part of the sanctioning body’s COVID-19 protocol.
Chip Ganassi Racing will be permitted to enter their cars, the No. 1 Monster Energy/Gearwrench Chevrolet driven by Kurt Busch and the No. 42 McDonald/Clover Camaro driven by Ross Chastain, in the event.
Christopher Bell Wins NASCAR Cup Series Road Course Race At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Christopher Bell picked up his first NASCAR Cup Series win in Sunday’s road course race at Daytona International Speedway.
Bell passed leader Joey Logano with two laps to go to give Joe Gibbs Racing their second win of the weekend. JGR’S Ty Gibbs won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race.
“I knew I was faster than him,” said Bell. “I ran him down from a while back. All I had to do was get a couple good corners and get away. The last thing I wanted was coming down to the checkered flag with him on my bumper.”
“I was trying to keep him (Bell) behind me,” said Logano. “We gambled by staying out and I’d say it paid off overall, but you just hate being so close. He started catching me a second a lap and it wasn’t like I blew any corners or anything. We just got beat, plain and simple.”
JGR’s Denny Hamlin started fourth and finished third in the No. 11 Toyota and said he just didn’t have the speed of the frontrunners.
“For me, I’m stuck at par right now,” said Hamlin, an avid golfer off the track. “I can’t break par. I’m just right there third to fourth fastest, and that’s where I’m at. I think the more times I run, the tighter that gap is going to get.”
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch rallied from an off-track excursion while leading the race to finish fourth.
“I just crossed over that fine line of grip,” said Busch. “The tires, at this track with the worn out asphalt of the infield section, it’s really easy to step over that line. Matt McCall (crew chief) and all my guys, they had an awesome day on pit road, strategy wise and with their (pit) stops to get us that track position and to get us back up front.”
Team Penske’s Brad Keselowski rounded out the top 5.
“It was a front, back, front, back kind of race, but the Discount Tire team, we just didn’t give up and kept working on it,” said Keselowski. “Eventually, the race came to us. We caught some breaks for sure and made the most of it. It was just one of those never-give-up kind of races.”
The race featured 12-lead changes among 7 drivers and 8-caution flags for 12-laps.
The Series concludes the early season Florida swing next Sunday, February 28 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain Ready For Road Course Racing
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kurt Busch and Ross Chastain are looking forward to turning left and right at this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 253 on the road course at Daytona International Speedway.
Chastain will start ninth thanks in part to a seventh place finish in the season-opening Daytona 500, his first Cup Series start in the No. 42 Chevrolet.
“A great way to kick off the year with this No. 42 car,” said Chastain. “We tore it up at the end – hit the wall a ton coming to the checkered, but still finished seventh. We got a few stage points. Thank you to everyone at Clover, McDonald’s, AdventHealth, Caregility. I still have some learning to do.”
Busch will start 17th on Sunday after being an innocent victim of a lap 14 accident. The accident was triggered when Christopher Bell attempted to bump draft Aric Almirola but did not hit him cleanly and subsequently sending Almirola into the wall in front of the rest of the field.
“All those boys started pushing way too hard, way too early, and we got wrapped up in it,” reflected Busch. “Got stuck in the mud, had too much damage and never really got to race. We had to ride around all day.”
Busch ultimately finished 22nd, which left him sitting in 20th place in the Cup Series drivers points standings.
“We’ll dig out of this hole,” said Busch, the 2004 Cup Series Champion. We’re a great team; we’re ready for this.”
The green flag is schedule to drop at 3 p.m.