BROOKLYN, Mich. (AP) — Driver Noah Gragson has been suspended indefinitely by NASCAR and Legacy Motor Club due to liking an insensitive meme with a photo of George Floyd’s face.
“I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media,” Gragson posted Saturday. “I understand the severity of this situation. I love and appreciate everyone. I try to treat everyone equally no matter who they are. I messed up plain and simple.”
Josh Berry will be in the No. 42 Chevrolet in Sunday’s race at Michigan International Speedway to replace Gragson.
Floyd, who was Black, died in 2020 after a white police officer knelt on his neck for 9 1/2 minutes. His death sparked mass protests around the world and forced a national reckoning on racial injustice.
In the wake of Floyd’s death, NASCAR banned the Confederate flag at events and venues after Bubba Wallace — its lone Black driver — said there was “no place” for it in the sport. Earlier that year, Cup series driver Kyle Larson used a racial slur while playing a video game. Chip Ganassi Racing fired Larson and he was suspended by NASCAR, which required him to complete a sensitivity training course for reinstatement.
NASCAR said Gragson violated the member conduct of its rule book, without providing details.
“His actions do not represent the values of our team,” Legacy Motor Club said in a statement.
The 25-year-old Gragson, who is from Las Vegas, is in his first full season in the Cup series and is No. 33 in points.