A year ago, Kyle Larson watched Chase Elliott win the NASCAR Cup Championship, while doubtless ruminating over what had gone wrong. Earlier in the year, Larson’s promising Cup career had been derailed, perhaps permanently. A racial slur uttered during an e-racing event had cost him his ride with Chip Ganassi Racing, his sponsorships, garnered a suspension by NASCAR, and immediately marked him as a symbol of every cliche held about NASCAR being the last bastion of rednecks and open racism in America.
Today, Larson won the NASCAR Cup Championship.
Larson has never fit into the image of NASCAR held by anyone who knows nothing about the sport, save the aforementioned cliches. He is half-Japanese. His maternal grandparents were kept in an internment camp during World War Two. He was born and raised in Elk Grove, California, a suburb of Sacramento. He cut his racing teeth in open-wheel dirt track racing around Northern California.
In NASCAR, Larson won the Rookie of the Year award in the then-Nationwide, now Xfinity Series in 2013, following that up with winning the Sprint Cup ROY award in 2014. Before he was suspended in 2020, Larson was on everyone’s dance card as a driver to watch, a potential future champion. Now, he has fulfilled the promise.
Larson’s return is a mark of something most liberals can neither understand nor accept, that being the concept of grace. If you are utterly and insufferably convinced of your righteousness, therefore never requiring forgiveness, the notion of extending forgiveness to others becomes anathema.
Since leftist culture has defined uttering a racial slur as the last sin standing, anyone who transgresses must immediately and permanently be barred from any and all societal participation. The woke mob and cancel culture cretins are forever on the prowl seeking whom they may devour in their continuous effort to demonstrate moral superiority or at least their claim to same.
Much ado was made last year of Bubba Wallace and the Talladega noose in the garage that wasn’t a noose incident. But, was there much attention paid to when Wallace said, without excusing Larson, that not only did he forgive him, but others should as well?
— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) April 16, 2020
Larson took his lumps without whining and set about educating himself without complaining. His work paid off when, not only was he reinstated by NASCAR, doubtless after running him through the wringer to let everyone know they were serious, he was picked up by NASCAR’s leading team owner Rick Hendrick for one of his four cars, Hendrick underwriting the car himself, as sponsors were still understandably gun-shy. The result was one of the most dominant seasons by a driver in Cup history, as Larson was 10 of 36 races, including today at Phoenix, which secured the championship.
There is no excuse for racial epithets. There is also no excuse for not extending forgiveness and friendship to the genuinely penitent. Larson did the work to dig himself out of the hole into which he threw himself. He transformed himself from a cliche he never embodied in the first place into someone whose personal self-improvement brought with it professional improvement the likes of which sports has seldom seen.
Coincidence? Perhaps. But consider the possibility that in seeking to be a better person, Kyle Larson freed that which had always been within to take full flight and transform him into not only the better person but one of the best drivers we have seen in a very, very long time.
Enjoy this video of him immediately after winning today.