Suspended NASCAR driver Kyle Larson has taken a step toward returning to the Cup Series. The former wheelman of the No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet Camaro, who was fired after saying the N-word during a Livestream, officially applied to be reinstated. NASCAR has not decided Larson's future but reportedly will do so shortly.
According to Adam Stern of the Sports Business Journal, the sport's sanctioning body is expected to approve Larson's reinstatement in the coming weeks. The 28-year-old has remained away from the sport's top series while completing sensitivity training and hired a diversity coach, Doug Harris of The Kaleidoscope Group. Larson also worked in the Minneapolis community, taking part in food drives, and toured Olympic legend Jackie Joyner-Kersee's community center in St. Louis.
Throughout his time educating himself and racing in the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series, Larson has remained in contact with NASCAR. Although having regular conversations with the governing body does not mean that he will automatically be reinstated. FOX Sports' Bob Pockrass reports that NASCAR continues to have internal discussions about Larson and with him.
If the suspended driver does ultimately return to the Cup Series, he will have to find a new team. When CGR fired him, they hired veteran Matt Kenseth to finish out the 2020 season in the No. 42. Moving forward into 2021, Xfinity Series driver Ross Chastain will make the full-time move to the Cup Series and the 42.
While his previous ride is claimed, Larson has reportedly drawn interest in recent weeks from other teams. Stewart-Haas Racing was one of the teams reportedly examining the possibility of bringing Larson into the fold. Clint Bowyer, the driver of the No. 14 Ford Mustang, is retiring at the end of the season to join the FOX booth. Bringing Larson to the team is one option, but SHR could also elevate Chase Briscoe after a dominant season in the Xfinity Series.
There is another option in Hendrick Motorsports. Seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is retiring while Alex Bowman is moving to the iconic No. 48. His No. 88 currently has no driver for the 2021 season, and FOX Sports reports that Larson could fill this void. However, this move is simply rumored at the moment.
Larson's future is unknown with four races remaining in the season, and NASCAR has yet to reinstate him. If this happens, he will likely land on one of the top teams before the 2021 season and the Daytona 500.