Kyle Larson responds to Denny Hamlin tweet that used Asian stereotype

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After poking fun at a move by Kyle Larson that put both of the cars he owns in the wall at Talladega, Denny Hamlin entered Dover on Saturday in an awkward position: In a video posted to his Twitter account, Hamlin used a family guy gag that portrayed a stereotype of Asian women and could easily have been construed as a shot at Larson’s ethnicity, leading to him being mandated to take sensitivity training by NASCAR.

After a week of fallout for Hamlin, Larson was given the opportunity to give his perspective on the matter. Speaking to reporters at Dover, Larson stated that he was not offended by Hamlin’s post, citing the friendship the two share. However, he did note that many others could have been offended by it, and believes NASCAR did what they had to do in response.

“Obviously it was just poor judgment on his part. And I think being in the position that we’re in, you have to be very careful with what you put out in the public,” Larson said. “I know he’ll learn a lot here these next couple weeks. I think we’re all just ready to move past it and get back to focused on racing.

“… No hard feelings from me. But I think after you put something out there, you realize how offensive it can be.”

Hamlin posted a video splicing together Larson cutting abruptly to the outside without being clear, wrecking the 23XI Racing cars of Kurt Busch and Bubba Wallace in the process, with a cutaway gag from Family Guy in which an Asian woman declares in broken English that she is cutting across multiple lanes of traffic without using a turn signal. Larson is half-Japanese and the only Asian-American driver in the Cup Series.

Speaking for himself to reporters, Hamlin owned up to his error in judgment and respected NASCAR’s discipline for him.

“Someone gave it to me and I thought it was hilarious. But it also is insensitive,” Hamlin said. “I definitely understand how some people could find it offensive. And if it’s one, then it’s one too many.”

Both Hamlin and Larson will start Sunday’s race at Dover in the top five, as Hamlin qualified second and Larson third to pole winner Chris Buescher on Saturday.

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