NASCAR’s Hailie Deegan — a 19-year-old female driver who’s a rising superstar in the sport — was forced to apologize Sunday night after she used the r-word during a virtual race earlier in the day.
Deegan — who’s scheduled to drive full-time in NASCAR’s Truck Series in 2021 — was streaming on Twitch when another driver appeared to nudge her virtual car during the video game race.
“Oh! Hey!” Deegan said during the clip. “Who’s the r***** behind me?! Don’t do that, please.”
Video of Deegan’s comment quickly went viral — with critics slamming her for using the offensive word … and a short time later, the driver issued a lengthy apology on her social media page.
“Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch,” Deegan said. “It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it.”
Deegan added, “There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”
This is not the first time a NASCAR driver has found themselves in hot water over a virtual race … remember, Kyle Larson used the n-word during a streaming event last April.
Larson was fired by his old team, Chip Ganassi Racing; dropped by major sponsors and suspended by NASCAR over it all. The 28-year-old was ultimately reinstated after hitting a ton of stipulations set on him by NASCAR officials, but he’s still essentially on probation until 2023.
Unclear if Deegan will face a similar punishment over her use of the r-word. We’ve reached out to NASCAR for comment, but so far, no word back yet.
Deegan — a Ford Racing Development driver who’s the daughter of motocross legend Brian Deegan — was the ARCA Rookie of the Year in 2020 and has potential to be a massive star in the sport going forward.