|Did Matt Crafton really call Stewart Friesen a queer?|
A NASCAR official confirmed to Jalopnik Friday that it’s looking into claims of homophobic comments communicated over a team radio during the Truck Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway on Thursday night, in response to on-track disputes between playoff drivers Matt Crafton and Stewart Friesen.
Autoweek reporter Matt Weaver posted the alleged comments on Twitter during the race, later deleting the post because, he said in a tweet, the “sentiment just felt too gross to keep up."
Live team transmissions are available for fans and media to listen to during races, and reporters often tweet things said on the radios.
The deleted tweet from Weaver said the communication came from Crafton’s No. 88 team radio in regards to Friesen.
“Fucking pussy," the tweet quoted the radio transmission as saying. It did not identify who the voice might have been, but multiple team members have access to radios.
“Fucking queer. That fucker should have been crashed four laps ago. Fucker is coming down here. Tired of these fucking queers… You should have wrecked him two laps ago."
When reached out for comment, a NASCAR official said NASCAR is “reviewing the matter" and did not comment further. Jalopnik also reached out to Crafton’s ThorSport Racing team for comment on Friday morning, but did not hear back as of this writing.
A source familiar with the situation told Jalopnik after the race that there were “multiple folks" asking if the comments were made, but that reviews of this type of thing are a long process. All of the evidence that’s available is reviewed, the source said, and then the process continues from there.
The NASCAR rulebook has a conduct section on derogatory comments made by people within the sport, which says they “shall not 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." That includes radio communication, a source familiar with the rules told Jalopnik, and falls under a punishment section in the rulebook that could “result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension, or termination."
While NASCAR is just in the review process of the alleged comments and did not comment further on whether there was audible evidence of them past Weaver’s original tweet, it should be noted, on the slight chance that it did happen, that radio communications have been tapped into by non-team members in the past.
Last year, USA Today reported that a fan hacked into a couple of radios during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Former driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. said afterward that radio hacks—fans cutting into team radios and making their own comments—have “been a problem on [team] radios for as long as [he] can remember." Jalopnik