The use of a racial slur during an online racing game didn’t just cost Kyle Larson his spot on the NASCAR Cup circuit, but also a fortune.
Larson made an estimated $9 million last season, when he won one race and finished sixth in the season standings, according to Forbes. That was a tick down from the $10 million he earned in 2018, when he won four races — and there was plenty more to come in the future.
Larson started the season in Daytona as one of NASCAR’s highest earners.
(Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
The now-former Chip Ganassi Racing driver finished in the top 10 in the past four seasons, was sitting in seventh this year before the season was suspended, and was set to be the most sought-after free agent when his contract ran out at the end of 2020.
While the 27-year-old rising star may have ended up signing a huge new deal to stay at Ganassi, where he was sponsored by McDonald’s and Credit One Bank until they terminated their relationships with him following the incident, he was also linked to moves to the Stewart-Haas Racing and Hendrick Motorsports.
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Kevin Harvick made $13.1 million driving for Stewart-Haas in 2019, while the retiring Jimmie Johnson, whose seat Larson would’ve filled, earned $17.5 million, according to Forbes.
Before Larson can ever dream of making that kind of money again, he’ll need to be reinstated by NASCAR, rehabilitate his image and find another team to drive for. So far, the only companies sticking with him are Finley Farms and Plan B Sales & Marketing, which sponsor the dirt track sprint car racing team he owns and have said he deserves a second chance to make things right.
The Associated Press contributed to this report