Chip Ganassi Racing Names Kyle Larson's Replacement Following Firing for Use of Racial Slur

Chip Ganassi Racing announced on April 14 that it had parted ways with driver Kyle Larson due to his use of a racial slur during an "iRacing" event. The Cup Series veteran had previously been suspended without pay while the racing team conducted an investigation but was ultimately fired. Now Ganassi Racing has found Larson's replacement for the remainder of the 2020 NASCAR season.

Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal reported on Monday morning that Ganassi Racing has selected Matt Kenseth to drive the No. 42 stock car for the remainder of the 2020 season. Ross Chastain, who had temporarily replaced Ryan Newman for Roush Fenway, had reportedly also been considered. Ganassi Racing ultimately opted for a former Cup Series champion. When the season returns, Kenseth will be striving to help the team secure a spot in the playoffs.

"I think Matt gives us the best chance to win, run up front and compete for wins," team owner Chip Ganassi told The Associated Press. "I've always gone with the mantra of trying to take the best driver available, and he's the best driver available right now. And he brings something to our sponsors that they need right now. Stability. No baggage. Family man. Daytona 500 winner. Championship winner."

Kenseth last took part in the Cup Series during the 2018 season. He drove the No. 6 Ford for Roush Fenway Racing as a 15-race replacement. According to Racing Reference, Kenseth's most recent race was at the 2019 SuperSeal Slinger Nationals, which he won.

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Prior to walking away from NASCAR's top series, Kenseth had put together a career spanning more than two decades. He first debuted in the Cup Series in 1998 and spent the majority of his career as a full-time driver. Kenseth secured 39 wins, 181 top-five finishes and won the championship in 2003, one year prior to NASCAR switching to the playoff format. Kenseth also won the Dayton 500 twice (2009, 2012).

The 2020 NASCAR season is currently postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and many drivers have headed to the Pro Invitational Series on "iRacing." The season could potentially return on May 17, but nothing has been confirmed by racing's governing body or Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. When the Cup Series does resume, Kenseth will be the man driving the No. 42 Chevrolet.