NASCAR driver Conor Daly lost a major sponsor of his race team after his father, a retired Formula 1 driver, acknowledged using a racial slur in an interview in the early 1980s.
“The last 24hrs have been quite an unnecessarily difficult ride for my family,” Conor Daly tweeted after Lilly Diabetes pulled its sponsorship. “There is A LOT I want to say... but I’m still here and still racing. I appreciate the support from @roushfenway and ALL of you. @LillyDiabetes has been a big part of my career and Im very thankful. #6.”
The tweet has drawn 5,400 likes since Conor Daly posted his thoughts on Friday.
Conor Daly drives for Roush Fenway Racing in NASCAR’s Xfinity series.
His father, Derek Daly, was fired as a longtime racing analyst for WISH-TV after acknowledging that he used a racially derogatory phrase in the early 1980s , the Indianapolis Star reported. Daly told the Star he’d moved from Ireland at the time and never realized the expression was a racial slur.
In a statement that he posted on Twitter on Friday, the day after he was fired, Derek Daly said: “I had no idea in this country that phrase had a horribly different meaning and connotation, as it was commonplace in Ireland.”
When he learned the meaning of the phrase, Derek Daly said in his statement, “I was mortified at the offense I might have caused people.”
Lilly said in a statement on Friday that its sponsorship of Conor Daly’s car “was intended to raise awareness for treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes,” the Associated Press reported. Conor Daly has Type I diabetes. The recent surfacing of Derek Daly’s long-ago remarks “distract from this focus ...” the company’s statement said, according to the AP.