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IndyCar: Agustin Canapino taking ‘leave of absence’ due to ‘growth of online abuse and harassment’

June 7th, 2024

Agustin Canapino has an average finish of 17.7 so far during the 2024 IndyCar Series season. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

Agustin Canapino won’t participate in Sunday’s IndyCar race at Road America after a week filled with alleged fan abuse on social media following an incident between him and Theo Pourchaire at the Detroit Grand Prix.

Juncos Hollinger Racing said Nolan Siegel would replace the 24-year-old Argentinian in the No. 78 car as Canapino takes a “leave of absence.” Canapino’s departure from the seat comes after Arrow McLaren announced Thursday that it was terminating its business relationship with Juncos Hollinger after Canapino fans had allegedly leveled death threats toward Pourchaire.

“The growth of online abuse and harassment resulting from the events of this week have led to a very difficult experience for Agustin, the team and the entire IndyCar fan base, and the safety of Agustin and the rest of the competitors has to be considered first and foremost,” a team statement said. “Abuse, hatred, and harassment in any form is a detriment to this sport, and we must prioritize the mental and physical wellbeing of both our drivers and our competition.”

Pourchaire, driving for McLaren, made contact with Canapino during the Detroit Grand Prix on June 2. On Monday, Pourchaire tweeted that he had received death threats following the incident.

Canapino released a statement himself saying that “I have not seen a single death threat directed at those who claim to have received them” while disavowing anyone who would level death threats on social media. He said that he “constantly receive[s] abuse and hate” and he has “learned to live with it as many people do, choosing to ignore it. There’s nothing sadder and more miserable than hiding behind social media to insult others.”

Thursday, McLaren cited its “social media community code” and said that it wouldn’t tolerate “any form of abuse or discrimination” and “totally condemns the online abuse directed toward our team and driver” when announcing that it had terminated its business relationship with Juncos Hollinger. The teams had a deal to place extra McLaren sponsor inventory on Juncos Hollinger cars when needed.

The fan abuse cited this week was not the first time an opposing driver has brought up how Canapino fans have reacted online following a race. A season ago, Canapino’s then-teammate Callum Ilott received hate after an incident between the two drivers at Laguna Seca. The outrage led to Juncos Hollinger releasing a statement requesting no negative comments toward either of its drivers.

Canapino has an average finish of 17.7 through the first six IndyCar races of the season and finished 22nd in the Indianapolis 500. Siegel was the only driver who failed to qualify for the 500 as he crashed out during his last-ditch qualifying attempt to make the field. Sunday’s race will be his second career IndyCar start.

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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