Rising NASCAR star Hailie Deegan issues apology, sent to sensitivity training for using the ‘R-word’

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The popular racing simulator iRacing has claimed another victim, this time 19-year-old rising star Hailie Deegan, who used the “R-word” in an unguarded moment.

And while regrettable — Deegan offered a quick apology — in newly woke NASCAR, where door pulls made of rope are seen as nooses and an example of “racism,” such an offense will result in getting sent to a reeducation camp. Well, that may be a little heavy, but sensitivity training is a must.

 

NASCAR is sending Deegan to sensitivity training after she used the “slur” during an online simulation race on Sunday, Fox News reported.

“This is fun. Oh, ay, who’s the r—-d behind me? Don’t do that please,” Deegan said, while streaming the iRacing event on Twitch.

Taking to Twitter afterwards, the popular driver called her actions “inappropriate” and “stupid,” offering a sincere apology.

“Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch,” she said. “It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it.  There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”

The effervescent driver, who scored a full-time ride in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2021, teaming with DGR-Crosley Racing, is seen by many in the sport as a transformative female competitor fully capable of taking the baton from former NASCAR driver Danica Patrick, who ended her racing career in 2018.

Deegan is also in the Ford Performance driver development program, since 2019.

“We are aware of this inappropriate comment,” the automaker said, according to NBC Sports. “Hailie immediately acknowledged this mistake, has apologized and promised to be much more thoughtful in the future.”

 

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Last year, driver Kyle Larson was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR after using a racial slur during an iRacing event on April 12, 2020, and dropped by his race team.

The sanctioning body required him to attend sensitivity training and the remorseful driver took additional steps on his own to rehabilitate his image.

Larson, seen as one of the most talented drivers in the sport, was reinstated after being exiled for six months, and signed a multi-year deal with Hendrick Motorsports to drive the No. 5 car in the Cup Series in 2021.

“Kyle is unquestionably one of the most talented race car drivers in the world,” said owner Rick Hendrick at the time. “He has championship-level ability and will be a significant addition to our on-track program. More importantly, I have full confidence that he understands our expectations and will be a tremendous ambassador for our team, our partners and NASCAR.

As for reactions to Deegan, it would be foolhardy to suggest a tweet from last year’s Daytona 500 didn’t play a role in how some people responded — the tweet she linked to below was of her posing with President Trump and first lady Melania Trump.

(That tweet no longer exists because of Twitter’s censorship of Trump.)

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter that haven’t been censored:

Tom Tillison

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