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NASCAR driver Hailie Deegan will be required to undergo sensitivity training after calling an opponent a “retard” during a virtual race over the weekend, the company announced.
The 19-year-old used the word Sunday night after her car was bumped in iRacing, a popular racing simulation that is sometimes broadcast live by professional racers.
“It was inappropriate slang and a stupid thing to do,” Deegan said in a statement Sunday. “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.”
Considered a rising star in the sport, Deegan in 2018 became the first woman to win a race in NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series West.
The California native competes for Ford Racing Development in mostly lower-level NASCAR series.
During another iRacing event in April, fellow NASCAR driver Kyle Larson was suspended indefinitely after using a racial slur.
Larson, who also underwent sensitivity training, was fired by Chip Ganassi Racing following his incident.
He was reinstated in October and signed with Hendrick Motorsports.
Deegan will need to complete her sensitivity training before the 2021 season, which begins in February, NASCAR said.