NASCAR: Kyle Larson left Bubba Wallace a crying voicemail

Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Kyle Larson, Bubba Wallace, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports /

Bubba Wallace recalled fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Larson leaving him a crying voicemail after he had used the N-word during an iRacing event.

When the real-life racing world was shut down back in April as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many NASCAR drivers and drivers from other series around the world competed in various virtual events on iRacing.

One of those events took place at the virtual Autodromo Nazionale Monza oval on the evening of Easter Sunday, April 12, and Chip Ganassi Racing NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson was among those in the field.

When attempting to reach his spotter on a private channel, he addressed him using the N-word. But he didn’t use the private channel.

Instead, everybody in the field could hear him, as could everybody watching the event live, and there were thousands doing so since multiple drivers were streaming it live on their Twitch channels.

What happened next was inevitable to say the least.

Chip Ganassi Racing and NASCAR suspended Larson indefinitely, but it was obvious that things wouldn’t stop there. After multiple sponsors cut ties with the 28-year-old Elk Grove, California native, Chip Ganassi’s hand was practically forced.

Suffice it to say that Larson still hasn’t competed in a Cup Series race since Sunday, March 8 at Phoenix Raceway.

But what Larson also did amid the fallout of his racial slur was make an effort to contact Bubba Wallace, the lone African-American driver currently competing in the Cup Series.

Wallace didn’t pick up.


Larson left what was described as a “crying” voicemail before trying and failing to reach the 27-year-old Mobile, Alabama native the second time the next day.

Wallace proceeded to contact Mike Metcalf Jr. before speaking to Larson. Metcalf, also an African-American, serves as the pit crew coach and gas can man on the #42 team, Larson’s former team.

Wallace did end up returning Larson’s call, and the two discussed the matter. In fact, Wallace was one of the first drivers to publicly advocate for Larson to get a second chance after his firing.

On SportsCenter Presents 2020: Heroes, History and Hope on ESPN, Wallace recently recalled that phone call.

"“He was super apologetic. I said, ‘Hey man, it’s in your vocabulary, dog.’ It ain’t just like, ‘Oh, am I going to say it again?’ If you use that on regular — I don’t know if he does or not — but it sounds like to me you do, then you have got to get that out of your vocabulary, you know?“People say to me, ‘Hey, they say it in rap music.’ Whatever, that’s that culture. It’s not the NASCAR culture. It’s not. We know what to say and what not to say. You sign the dotted line, you don’t say stupid s*** like that. If someone really wants to talk, let’s talk. I want to talk. But you have to want to talk with me.”"

More from NASCAR Cup Series

Larson is set to return to the Cup Series next year with a new team, as he is set to drive the #5 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, technically as the replacement for seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson with Johnson retiring and the team shifting numbers around.

Wallace, meanwhile, has left Richard Petty Motorsports after three seasons and is set to compete for 23XI Racing, the new team started by NBA legend Michael Jordan and Joe Gibbs Racing driver Denny Hamlin, beginning in 2021.

Next. Top 10 NASCAR drivers of all-time. dark

The 2021 season is scheduled to get underway next month on Sunday, February 14 with the 63rd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway.