PHILADELPHIA — Jysir Fisher was whisked into victory lane at Dover for a whirlwind of hugs and high-fives with race winner Kyle Larson. Fisher never really watched NASCAR and had no idea who Larson was when they were seated only days earlier at the same table at an awards banquet for a youth racing school. The Philadelphia teen’s interests lean toward engineering, yet there he was last October, soaking in the spoils of winning a playoff race with his new favourite driver.
The two formed an instant bond at the banquet: Larson used his Chevrolet connections to get Fisher into the race, and three nights after they met, the driver won his only NASCAR race of the 2019 season. Larson even gave his email address to Fisher and told him to write any time.
“He’s like the real-deal racer,” Fisher said he thought of Larson.
The next time Fisher and Larson spoke face to face, the topic would have seemed inconceivable at that October ceremony for the Urban Youth Racing School.
Larson, an advocate for the Philly-based program that creates opportunities in racing for minorities, was caught using a slur during an iRacing event in April. Larson lost his NASCAR ride, his sponsor, his multimillion-dollar contract — and perhaps shattered his reputation with the kids and the school where he stood as a role model. That’s what led Larson back to the school as part of his racial repentance tour — which included a visit to the site in Minneapolis where George Floyd died — and he met with students, their families and instructors to have real conversations about the hurt he caused.
The 28-year-old Larson wanted to apologize to Fisher for the slur, not by Zoom or text, but eye to eye in the same room. Unsure how he