MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
FOOD CITY 500
BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 13, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Bristol Motor Speedway and discussed what it will take to get a Bristol win, his thoughts on the track package at Bristol, how much he pays attention to the NASCAR news cycle and many other topics. FULL TRANSCRIPT:
WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO BREAK THROUGH FOR A WIN HERE AT BRISTOL?
“I don’t know. I think we or I and or team have to get better when the track kind of changes from the first half of the race into the second half. It seems like every time I’ve been here, whether it’s Xfinity or Cup I can pretty much dominate the first half and then I guess I come back to everybody else. And it seems like I always make mistakes on pit road and stuff like that. Just got to clean it all up and that will give me a better shot at getting a win here. And then you’ve got to get somewhat lucky being in the outside lane to restart. But, yeah, Bristol is my favorite track and I always get excited to come here, so really looking forward to the weekend.”
DOES IT TAKE YOU AWHILE TO REALLY FIGURE OUT WHERE THE TRACK IS GOING TO BE GOOD IN PRACTICE OR DO YOU HAVE AN IDEA GOING IN?
“No, I mean I don’t feel like it’s changed a whole bunch. They added the VHT stuff I think now the last two years or so and it makes it seem like we practice around the bottom now and then myself and (Ricky) Stenhouse seem to be the only brave ones that work in the top during practice. Then that lures everybody else up there. So, then it gets more similar to how it will race. Where typically in the race the bottom would be good for a handful of laps in the beginning of the run and then you can move up to the top. And then it seems like towards the end of the run when your tires are kind of just junk you can kind of go wherever you want. I think Bristol is by far racier than any track. It’s nice to see that they have gotten somewhat happy with the track package that they have now and haven’t really messed with it a whole bunch from last year. Yeah, there is no place more fun than Bristol when you get to lap traffic and I feel like that is what separates some drivers so it’s a lot of fun.”
DO YOU ALWAYS FEEL LIKE THINGS ARE SO HECTIC THAT YOU ARE ALWAYS IN A TRAFFIC JAM HERE?
“Yeah and that makes it fun. You don’t really have any time to relax. Like I said, lap traffic it’s so much fun here and you catch it in 15 laps or whatever. Then you are just carving through it. You just catch a guy and you go to wherever they are not. It’s fun to have options like that. Yeah, I was watching the race back and I just, I guess I’ve been saying it a lot, but I just get really excited about this place because it kind of races like a dirt track and it’s a lot of fun.”
HAS SHORT TRACK RACING CHANGED AT ALL IN THE LAST FEW YEARS?
“Well, I wasn’t around, this is only my fifth year in Cup and the physicality of… I guess you are probably more talking about moving people out of the way and stuff like that. That hasn’t changed at least since I’ve been in the Cup Series. If anything, maybe a little bit more, but I don’t know I think back in the day the bumper didn’t line up and if somebody could get to the back bumper somebody could just spin them out. Now there is probably more contact but it doesn’t result in people spinning out or crashing. Now that our bumpers line up you can kind of shove people out of the way or run into them a couple of times and let them know that you are faster than they are and then they typically get out of your way. I think it’s just a product of the race cars bumpers lining up better now.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE NEW PACKAGE NASCAR JUST ANNOUNCED THEY ARE GOING TO USE AT THE ALL-STAR RACE?
“I don’t really know what to expect. I felt like at Indy last year with Xfinity I think it’s a somewhat similar package to what they ran. The racing on TV came across better. I think we will have the same effect probably for the Cup Series at Charlotte. I don’t think it will be any more exciting for us in the seat because it will be a lot slower, but I think it will come across on TV and in the grandstands a lot better. NASCAR is always trying to please the fans and I think this is a step to make the racing come across as more exciting.”
IN THE LAST WEEK DISCUSSIONS HAVE RANGED FROM NASCAR HANDING OUT PIT GUNS, TO RESTRICTOR PLATES AT CHARLOTTE, TO MONSTER AS THE TITLE SPONSOR, DO YOU GET INTO ANY OF THAT TALK OR DO YOU JUST IGNORE IT ALL AND IF YOU IGNORE IT ALL WHY DO YOU?
“Yeah, I mean I haven’t really paid attention to any of it all week. I have actually golfed every day. So, I haven’t been on my phone a whole lot. I don’t ever really pay attention that is really not, it doesn’t really have anything to do with me. Yeah, I just focus on driving and that is what I love to do. I don’t want to get wrapped up in all the other stuff. I was golfing with Michael Waltrip the other day and he was like ‘oh what do you think about the All-Star package?’ I was like ‘I have no idea what you are talking about’ and he explained it to me. I don’t know. I just show up and race and whatever is whatever.”
DID YOU SAY EARLIER THAT NORMALLY YOU SEEMED TO HAVE STARTED OFF STRONG IN RACES HERE AND THEN YOU JUST KIND OF FELL OFF AND IF SO IS THAT ON YOU OR IS THAT ON THE TEAM NOT KEEPING UP WITH ANY CONDITIONS OR CHANGES ON THE CAR?
“I think it’s probably more on me. As the track changes I think I have to get a little bit smarter in how I communicate on what changes I think need to be done to the car to keep turned the corner good and having good grip. So, yeah, I would say it’s more on me, but yeah, I don’t know why I have seemed to struggle, but it seems like everybody else just becomes a little bit better than I do the second half of the race, so maybe this weekend will be different.”
HOW ARE YOU FEELING AFTER LAST WEEK’S WRECK AT TEXAS? WAS IT ONE OF THE WORST YOU HAVE EVER HAD?
“Yeah, I felt relatively fine afterwards, which was good. Initially right after, I got my left elbow on my seat on the carbon and then my right shoulder. I think I kind of fell into the padding there went I hit the wall. My neck was just a little bit stiff, not too bad. The second day was probably a little bit worse, but it could have been way worse. Thankful that there are SAFER barriers and our team builds safe race cars. But, yeah, one of my harder hits for sure. I think we turn like 44 or 45 g’s (g-forces) with the hit, which is I think numbers wise my biggest hit. I felt like Fontana a couple of years ago hurt worse. I hit more head-on, but yeah, they all hurt.”
LOOKING FORWARD TO RICHMOND NEXT WEEKEND WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING TO THAT VENUE:
“Normally, I would say I’m not that excited to go to Richmond because it’s a place where I’ve just ran average at before, but then last year we had some good runs and was able to get the win in the second Richmond. Anytime you win somewhere it gives you an added bit of excitement and confidence going back there. Yeah, I feel like our short track program has been pretty good the last year and a half or so. So, yeah, I think we can go there and have another good run.”
TODAY BEING FRIDAY THE 13TH ARE YOU SUPERSTITIOUS?
“Well, it’s just practice, so it doesn’t bother me. Maybe if it was a race day it would. No, it is whatever. I didn’t even think about that until you said it.”
LOOKING BACK AT THE FIRST SEVEN RACES OF THE SEASON WHERE WOULD YOU ASSESS YOUR TEAM AND THOUGHTS ON THE NEW CAMARO:
“I feel like we have pretty good speed in our cars. We haven’t had a lot of luck to go with it, but I feel like our average running position has been okay at the tracks we are typically good at. Martinsville I always seem to struggle, but I felt like we ran a little bit better there. I felt like Texas I was similar in speed to Kyle (Busch) and Kevin (Harvick) then we had our right-front (tire) issue. So, I feel like we are close. We still have a way to go to compete with the No. 4. I think he is in his own league right now and then the No. 18 their team is good and Kyle is just really, really good. So, I feel like we are fourth or fifth ‘bes-tish’… I don’t know it’s hard to say, but we’ve got to get finishing a little bit better and click off a win and then I think we can consider ourselves a favorite again.”
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