Callum Ilott Apr 14, 2023; Long Beach, California, USA; Juncos Hollinger Racing driver Callum Ilott (77) of United Kingdom during practice at Long Beach Street Circuit. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Social media is an incredibly toxic landscape where it’s way too easy to abuse others from the luxury of being behind a screen. In particular, when an athlete does something to either inconvenience an opposing fanbase or gamblers, they hear it from many people.

Callum Ilott, driver of the #77 for Juncos Hollinger Racing, exited the pit on Lap 26 of the Grand Prix of Long Beach, trying to stay on the lead lap. Ilott just barely stayed in front of the leader, his teammate Agustín Canapino. Ilott was well within his right to fight and stay on the lead lap, but as he warmed up his tires, it stacked the leaders behind him. A few turns later, Canapino lost several spots as Pato O’Ward spun ahead.

The move apparently didn’t sit well with those in Canapino’s fanbase, who according to Ilott, received a “record” number of death threats since Sunday’s race.

Ilott seemed to take it in stride given many people wished death toward someone who makes a living risking their life in a race car. Ilott tweeted, “Genuinely impressed by the amount of death threats and abuse I’ve received. Definitely a new record by far, really appreciate the effort to help me learn all these new Spanish words. I’m going to the beach now. Hasta luego.”

To his credit, the rookie Canapino posted a video absolving Ilott of any blame and said Ilott didn’t do anything to hurt his race. In his tweet, translated from Spanish, Canapino said, “Sunday. Unfortunately we had to retire due to a race situation. To clarify that Callum Ilott did not do anything on purpose or with intention, it simply happened that way due to circumstances, we make a good team and I am very grateful for that.”

It’s unfortunate that Canapino had to do that, but it was nice he did.

Ilott finished 19th out of 27 cars, one lap down. Canapino retired from the race on Lap 52 of 85 and finished 25th. Pole sitter Kyle Kirkwood got his first career win, driving the #27 for Andretti Autosport.

[Callum Ilott]

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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