In a “previously unreported development”, Coca-Cola had already cut ties with NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson prior to last night’s incident, which involved Larson using a racial slur.
We’re all familiar with the Coca-Cola Racing Family of NASCAR Cup Series drivers and the interviews with the obligatory swig from a Coca-Cola bottle in which these drivers are required to participate. One of those drivers had been Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Larson.
Now it has been revealed by Sports Business Journal’s Adam Stern that this is no longer the case. Stern called it a “previously unreported development”.
What makes the fact that this revelation was made right now extra interesting, however, is the fact that this move obviously had nothing to do with the fact that Larson used a racial slur in Sunday night’s virtual race on iRacing at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
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It is not known why, exactly, Larson was dropped from the Atlanta, Georgia-based soda company.
While Chip Ganassi Racing, NASCAR, iRacing and Larson himself all released statements about Larson’s racial slur, which resulted in him being indefinitely suspended from both NASCAR and iRacing with reinstatement in the latter possible via completion of sensitivity training, Coca-Cola naturally had nothing to say, with Larson no longer representing the brand.
However, given the fact that this was, as Stern stated, a “previously unreported development”, this has put Coca-Cola in an interesting position, as many fans were under the impression that they were still tied to Larson and unjustifiably expected something from them in response to his actions.
This is just another strange turn to an already unfortunate and strange sequence of events brought about by the “virtual” world, which remains, as always, as real as the people who are in it, which is true from NASCAR simulators to MMORPGs.