NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan apologizes for using R-word during iRacing session

NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan was recorded saying the R-word Sunday evening during an iRacing session. A clip circulated on social media showing Deegan speaking into her headset while driving in a virtual racing event.

“This is fun,” Deegan said. Then after apparent contact from another driver she added, “Oh, ay, who’s the (R-word) behind me? Don’t do that please.”

Deegan posted an apology via Twitter on Sunday night:

“Earlier tonight I used an insensitive word during an online race being broadcast on twitch,” Deegan wrote. “It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do. I apologize to everyone who was offended by it. There’s no excuse for it, and I know I have to do better for my sponsors and my fans.”

Deegan, 19, is the daughter of professional motocross driver Brian Deegan and has been touted as a young, female face for NASCAR’s fanbase. She has competed in lower-level NASCAR series, winning one race in 2018 and two races in 2019 in the K&N Pro Series West.

She raced a full ARCA season last year with DGR-Crosley (four top-five finishes, 17 top-10s), and is set to run her first full-time season in the lowest of NASCAR’s three national series in Trucks with DGR-Crosley in 2021.

The use of an insensitive word on a virtual racing stream comes a few months after full-time Cup driver Kyle Larson was reinstated by NASCAR after being suspended for using a racial slur during an iRacing event last year. Larson was fired mid-season by his team and completed mandated sensitivity training, as well as issued multiple public apologies, before he was able to rejoin NASCAR following a six-month suspension. He will compete for Hendrick Motorsports this season.

DGR-Crosley did not respond to an immediate request for comment.

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