Larson to highlight charitable causes in return to iRacing

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This artists rendering provided by Hendricks Motorsports shows the paint scheme design for the car Kyle Larson will use in his return to iRacing on Wednesday, March 24, 2021, featuring the foundation hes started in his path to redemption. Larson was suspended for almost a full season in 2020 for using a racial slur in the last iracing event he participated in April, 2020.(Hendricks Motorsports via AP)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Think of iRacing and Kyle Larson and the first thing that comes to mind is his use of a racial slur while participating in a late-night session nearly a year ago.

Of course it is, and Larson knows that. He can't escape that he said the N-word, he can only continue to move forward in his bid for redemption and the work he's done to repair the damage.

Larson will make his return to the popular online racing platform Wednesday night when NASCAR launches the 10-race eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series. The car he'll use will be “sponsored” by the Kyle Larson Foundation and feature three organizations he's designated for support.

Larson's “Drive for 5 Campaign” was launched this month to benefit children, families and communities in need of support. His mission is to fund five scholarships a year at the Urban Youth Racing School in Philadelphia, to provide daily meals for five families per day through The Sanneh Foundation, and support at least five communities per year through the school grants provided by Hendrick Cares.

All three organizations will be featured on Larson's No. 5 Chevrolet in the iRacing Series and Larson funds the “Drive for 5 Campaign” through his on-track performance. He's pledged $5 for every lap completed this season and $5,000 for each top-five finish. Through the first six races of the NASCAR season, Larson has committed $22,205 via three top-fives and 1,441 laps.

“I'm hoping to raise $500,000,” Larson told The Associated Press. “I've got a long ways to go but I'm glad that I've gotten it started and that I'm able to showcase the organizations I've joined to help make a difference.”

The three organizations earmarked by Larson's foundation aren't random. All three played an integral role in the work he did on educating and improving himself during a NASCAR suspension that lasted all but the first four races of the 2020 season.

“I wanted to start a foundation for some time, I just didn't really ever know exactly what I wanted it to be about,” he said. “I wanted it to be around kids, but I just needed something that was really close to me and personal to me, especially the things I went through last year.”