Thursday, 10 August 2023

NASCAR driver who liked George Floyd meme requests release from team — asks for 'second chance'

 Noah Gragson, the popular NASCAR driver who was suspended for liking a George Floyd meme on Instagram, has formally asked to be released from his team to pursue a reinstatement process with the racing organization.

Gragson was suspended indefinitely by his team, the Legacy Motor Club, and NASCAR for liking a meme mocking George Floyd with a parody song.

"We have made the decision to suspend Noah Gragson effective immediately regarding his actions that do not represent the values of our team."

After the suspension on August 5, 2023, it took just three days for his team to announce that he would miss at least the next two races and be replaced by driver Mike Rockenfeller.

By August 10, Gragson and his team had announced his request for release in an attempt to go through a form of rehabilitation in order to be eligible to re-enter NASCAR.

“I have asked Legacy Motor Club to release me from my contract so that I can take time to work through the NASCAR reinstatement process,” Gragson said in a statement. 

“I love racing, and I am looking forward to a second chance to compete for wins at the highest level of NASCAR — and most importantly, make my family, my team and the fans proud of me once again," he added. 

"We are proud that Noah has taken ownership of his actions and are confident he will work through this process with NASCAR and come back stronger," said Legacy Motor Club CEO Cal Wells III.

According to Autoweek, NASCAR tailors its reinstatement programs according to the offense committed by each individual. For example, driver A.J. Allmendinger had to complete a program overseen by NASCAR's drug-testing unit. He was suspended for failing a random drug test before eventually being reinstated.

In 2020, driver Kyle Larson was suspended for allegedly racist remarks. His reinstatement process included hiring a diversity coach, speaking with prominent black athletes, and listening to various members of black communities across the country about their experiences.

Legendary driver Kyle Busch went through a similar process in 2015 over alleged domestic violence. It was unclear what steps he took in his process to reinstatement, but Busch was cleared of criminal charges and then brought back into the racing fold.

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