Kyle Larson, suspended by NASCAR in April for the use of a racial slur, will be permitted to resume competing on Jan. 1, the sanctioning body announced Monday.
Larson was participating in an iRacing video-game event on April 12 when he said the N-word during a live stream. NASCAR suspended him from competition the next day. Chip Ganassi Racing initially announced it had suspended Larson, then fired him on April 14.
NASCAR's statement Monday read, "NASCAR continues to prioritize diversity and inclusion across our sport. 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."
Larson said in an interview that aired Friday on "CBS This Morning" he has "definitely grown more in these last six months than the 28 years I've been alive."
He added, "I know deep down I'm not a racist. I said a racist word and I can fully understand why people would label me a racist."
Larson also told CBS, "I didn't use it in a way to, you know, degrade or you know, insult anyone. I know it's not my word to use. So, you know, I need to get it out of my vocabulary, and I have. ...
"I guess I didn't think of how it took African Americans, probably in their thoughts, took them back to, you know, slavery and things like that and injustice and stuff that they have had to work, you know, so hard to overcome."
Larson, who has Japanese heritage, joined NASCAR through a program called "Drive for Diversity." His grandparents were held in an interment camp in California during World War II.
Larson, who is in his seventh full season on the top NASCAR circuit, was in the final year of his contract with Chip Ganassi Racing.
He has six career Cup wins, including capturing the 2019 Drydene 400 at Dover, Del.
Before the suspension this year, Larson competed in four events, with his best finish being fourth place at Phoenix.
--Field Level Media