Xfinity driver Conor Daly loses sponsorship over father's slur
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- Lilly Diabetes has pulled its sponsorship of Conor Daly's No. 6 car in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Road America, citing a racially insensitive remark made by the driver's father in the 1980s that surfaced this week.
Lilly said in a statement Friday that its sponsorship was intended to raise awareness for treatment options and resources for people living with diabetes.
"Unfortunately, the comments that surfaced this week by Derek Daly distract from this focus, so we have made the decision that Lilly Diabetes will no longer run the No. 6 at Road America this weekend," Lilly said.
Primarily an IndyCar driver, Conor Daly is making his NASCAR debut at the rural Wisconsin road course Saturday with Roush Fenway Racing.
"The last (24 hours) have been quite an unnecessarily difficult ride for my family. There is A LOT I want to say ... but I'm still here and still racing,'' Daly wrote on Twitter on Friday night.
In a statement, Derek Daly said he admitted to using a racial slur for African-Americans during a radio interview in the early 1980s. Daly, who had just moved to the United States then, said the term had a different meaning and connotation in his native Ireland. Daly is a former CART and Formula One driver.
Daly said he was "mortified" when he learned how the term was used in the United States and has never used it since then. Conor Daly, 26, wasn't born when his father made the comment.
"Finally, I want everyone to know I deeply regret and sincerely apologize for what I said more than three decades ago," the elder Daly said in his statement.
Lilly Diabetes is still sponsoring the cars of drivers Ty Majeski and Ryan Reed at Road America.
"We remain committed to our mission of supporting people with diabetes," Lilly said.
The racial slur also led to the retirement of longtime Indianapolis Colts radio voice Bob Lamey last weekend.
Sunday, the Colts announced Lamey was abruptly retiring, quoting him saying, "It's time." Tuesday night, WTHR reported that Lamey had told a story after a radio interview at Colts training camp that included a racial slur. The comment was overheard by a radio station employee.
"Bob Lamey's describing this person saying he was asked in an interview, 'Do you think anyone's holding back their speed at IMS during quals? Do you think anyone's holding back?'" the employee said. "And that person had replied 'There aren't any "blank" in this race.'"
The employee said Lamey didn't say "blank" in retelling that story. The employee said Lamey apologized profusely after the incident.
Lamey's lawyer later acknowledged that Lamey had used an "inappropriate word."
Wednesday, the Colts acknowledged Lamey's retirement was due to his use of the racial slur.
WISH-TV said Daly, a freelance racing analyst, was the source of the slur. Daly denies he was the person being interviewed by Lamey but acknowledges using the word.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.