NASCAR has announced that Kyle Larson has been reinstated, but not until January of 2021. So why did the announcement come in October?
Kyle Larson was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing and suspended indefinitely by NASCAR back in April after using the N-word during an iRacing event which was being live streamed on multiple Twitch channels.
Larson needed to complete sensitivity training before being reinstated by the sanctioning body, and he did that shortly after he was suspended.
But he only applied for reinstatement last week, and his request was approved on Monday, more than six months after making the mistake he made back on Easter Sunday.
However, he isn’t set to be reinstated officially until the new year rolls around on Friday, January 1, 2021.
So why did this announcement come so soon?
This is not a matter of “why did NASCAR approve him so soon?” in terms of him not having learned from his mistake. He has clearly done that, and that is easily backed up by all the work he has done behind the scenes and outside of the public eye since his suspension, and as stated above, he could’ve easily applied for reinstatement months ago. NASCAR could’ve easily approved his request months ago as well.
But the reason why his reinstatement, which isn’t slated to be effective for another two and a half months, was confirmed in mid-October is so that sponsors and teams have time to assess whether or not they should hire him knowing that they will officially be allowed by NASCAR to do so for next year, according to Fox Sports’ Bob Pockrass.
There was nothing in his previous suspension that prevented him from talking to teams and sponsors about returning next year, but knowing for sure that NASCAR would welcome him back is key here.
Now they know that.
Plus, Larson isn’t going to be competing again in 2020 anyway; that was obvious back in April and is even more obvious now with just three races remaining this season. He has already missed the last 29 races, having not competed in any events since the season was halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
He competed only Daytona International Speedway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Auto Club Speedway and Phoenix Raceway to open up the season. After those four races, he sat in a seventh place tie in the championship standings with a top finish of fourth at Phoenix Raceway.
So in terms of Larson actually competing again, it really makes no difference if the reinstatement was effective back in April, tomorrow, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Day or two days before the 2021 season begins.
The reinstatement announcement coming from NASCAR when it did, however, gives him a better chance to land a ride for next year, which many believe he will do with Hendrick Motorsports behind the wheel of a renumbered #5 Chevrolet.