Lilly Diabetes has pulled its sponsorship of Conor Daly's No. 6 car in the NASCAR Xfinity race at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, citing a racially insensitive remark made by the driver's father in the early 1980s that surfaced this week.
Indianapolis-based 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 will make 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.
Lilly Diabetes is still sponsoring the RFR-owned cars of drivers Ty Majeski and Ryan Reed at Road America.
"We remain committed to our mission of supporting people with diabetes," Lilly said.
WISH-TV said Wednesday night that it was severing its ties with Derek Daly, a former CART and Formula One driver who had worked for the station as a freelance racing analyst for 30 years. The station said Derek Daly had used the n-word in an interview about 35 years.
The story came to light when longtime Indianapolis Colts radio broadcaster Bob Lamey used the same word while repeating his account of Derek Daly's interview earlier this month without using Daly's name. Lamey abruptly announced his "retirement" less than a week later.
Derek Daly admitted he did indeed use the n-word during a radio interview in the early 1980s, but he said Lamey was inaccurate in his retelling of the incident. Daley, who had just moved to the United States, said the term had a different meaning and connotation in his native Ireland.
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.
His son thanked Roush Fenway and Twitter followers for their support. He also thanked his former sponsor.
"Lilly Diabetes has been a big part of my career and I'm very thankful," Daly wrote.