Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski among those congratulating Kyle Larson after win
Bubba Wallace and previous champ Brad Keselowski were amongst those who praised Kyle Larson after his win in Sunday’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Larson’s triumph came almost 11 months after Chip Ganassi Racing fired him for utilizing a racial slur throughout an online racing occasion. NASCAR suspended him the rest of 2020. Larson returned this season with Hendrick Motorsports.
Wallace, who stated in 2015 that Larson was worthy of a 2nd opportunity, went to Success Lane to praise Larson.
“It meant a lot to have Bubba come to Victory Lane,” Larson stated. “He always does a really good job of congratulating the winners. Yeah, I saw him waiting to say hi or whatever to me as I ran over there, and just had a quick moment with him. He said congrats. He’s always believed in me. So that was special.
“Just really cool to have him come by and take time out of his post race where he could be on his way to the airport to go home. For him to come over was really cool. I hope they can start getting some better luck with that race team, having some good runs like they deserve.”
Wallace was amongst the very first individuals Larson connected to in 2015 after saying the slur.
“There is no place for that word in this world,” Wallace stated last April. “I am not mad at him, and I believe that he, along with most people, deserve second chances and deserve space to improve.”
Larson utilized his time far from NASCAR in 2015 to do that, composing last October:
“Since April, I’ve done a lot of reflecting. I realized how little I really knew about the African-American experience in this country and racism in general. Educating myself is something I should’ve done a long time ago, because it would’ve made me a better person – the kind of person who doesn’t casually throw around an awful, racist word. The kind who makes an effort to understand the hate and oppression it symbolizes and the depth of pain it has caused Black people throughout history and still to this day. It was past time for me to shut up, listen and learn.”
Runner-up Brad Keselowski headed out to the track to praise Larson after Sunday’s race.
“I think everybody loves a good redemption story,” Keselowski stated. “He’s fought really hard for his opportunity to come back and (is) making the most of it. I’m happy for him. I think I told him that, just happy for him.
“I wanted to win. I told him I wanted to win the damn race. But if I couldn’t, I’m glad he did. We’ve all been kind of pulling for him.”
Stated Larson on what Keselowski did: “That was really special to see Brad walking across the infield to come congratulate me, then waiting while I completed my interviews and things. So, yeah, that was special.
“He’s somebody that I really respect and look up to as a driver, a leader, all of that. I definitely feel like we built a friendship over the last, really, probably, five or six years. Having children has really brought us together more so.
“We live in the same community, so we see each other throughout the week sometimes. Birthday parties and stuff they’ll come to for my children. I really like Brad. I’ve always respected him. Even before I ever raced in NASCAR, I was a Brad Keselowski fan.”
Amongst those providing Larson congratulations on social networks were Mario Andretti and Expense Lester.
— Expense Lester (@Bill_Lester) March 7, 2021
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Bubba Wallace, Brad Keselowski amongst those congratulating Kyle Larson after win initially appeared on NBCSports.com
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.