NASCAR announced Tuesday that Denny Hamlin will be required to complete a sensitivity training course that must begin by the end of the week, according to a league spokesperson.
The Cup Series driver made a social media post on Monday using an anti-Asian “meme” from the television show Family Guy toward Kyle Larson regarding his final lap move in Sunday’s Talladega Superspeedway.
“I took down a post I made earlier today after reading some of the comments,” Hamlin tweeted. “It was a poor choice of memes and I saw how it was offensive. It came across totally wrong. I apologize.”
Larson, who is half-Japanese and the reigning Cup Series champion, made a move in his final turn that helped him finish fourth overall in the race. However, his move was an aggressive one that caused 23XI driver Kurt Busch to crash.
Hamlin’s tweet included a video of an Asian driver making a comment about using turn signals to cross multiple lanes of traffic, implying a racist stereotype about Asian drivers. Larson’s name was placed over the driver in the clip. The video was then stitched with the ending of Sunday’s race.
According to the Associated Press, the clip has been extracted from the TV series’ episode on all streaming platforms. However, the scene can still be seen on YouTube.
Hamlin is a driver with Toyota while also being affiliated as a team owner. Representatives from Toyota issued a statement in “support” of NASCAR’s decision to punish Hamlin.
“We have spoken with Denny Hamlin regarding his tweet from yesterday. Toyota supports NASCAR’s decision to mandate sensitivity training for Denny and we will all move forward together,” the automaker said.
Per NASCAR’s rulebook, members are not allowed to “make or cause to be made a public statement and/or communication that criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or handicapping condition.”