CHEVY MENCS AT CHARLOTTE TWO: Kyle Larson Press Conf. Transcript

(Chevy)

MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES

BANK OF AMERICA 500
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY

TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT

OCTOBER 6, 2017

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway and discussed what he and his team need to do in order to progress to the Round of 8, thoughts on this weekend’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and the threat of rain and many other topics.  Full Transcript:

HOW DOES CHARLOTTE AND THE NEXT TWO TRACKS SET YOU UP FOR ADVANCING INTO THE NEXT ROUND?
“It was nice to make it easily into this next round.  The tracks in this round suit me fairly decent, I guess.  Charlotte, I seem to be hit or miss.  I feel like whenever we end up running a day show at Charlotte I’m really good, but he night races for some reason, I struggle at.  Hopefully, the weather stays away and we can race while the sun is out and then have a solid race and go to Talladega and not have to do anything crazy to gain a bunch of points, but, go there and kind relax will be nice. And then Kansas is one of my better tracks so excited to get there.  I seem to always run better the second Kansas also, so looking forward to that.  Just got to continue what we have been doing, making no mistakes.  Top fives and top 10’s would be great, so that is our goal.”

HOW DO YOU FEEL YOUR TEAM WAS COMPETITIVELY COMING OUT OF THAT FIRST ROUND?
“I felt good.  Chicago, I thought we were probably a fourth-place car.  I think we finished fifth.  Loudon, I thought we were probably about a fourth-place car and finished second.  And Dover actually last week I thought I had the best car, but I won the second stage and then under caution I couldn’t get my engine to re-fire, so I went from first to fifth just under yellow and that kind of killed my shot to win.  Where I felt like if I had restarted as the leader I could have held on to the lead and maybe won.  You don’t know, but I felt like I would have run at least first to third, but instead we finished fifth.  I thought we were competitive enough to win the championship, so we’ve just got to continue that.”

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE ROVAL HERE AT CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY FOR NEXT YEAR?
“I don’t know.  I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t know if it’s going to be a good race, a bad race, an embarrassing race or what, but it’s going to be exciting none-the-less.  I think the fans will enjoy it.  I don’t know how the drivers will feel about it until we actually get to make some laps and compete. You know Charlotte and NASCAR are trying to make things more exciting around here and that is one way to do it.  I don’t know what to expect though.  It will be interesting when they get to test it, I think in a handful of weeks, it will be cool to see.”

IN LIGHT OF WHAT HAPPENED IN LAS VEGAS, DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS ABOUT DOING THE VICTORY LAP THERE IN DECEMBER?
“Uh no, I mean, I hadn’t thought about that.  I know NASCAR has an awesome security team.  So, I wouldn’t never really be nervous and all that. I mean, I don’t know, any of those people that were going there probably don’t expect anything like that to happen.  I don’t think I would ever expect it to happen.  As we have seen time and time again, it seems like lately anything can happen at big events.  I don’t know, but I guess right now I wouldn’t be too worried about it because, like I said, NASCAR has a great team of security.”

DOES HAVING A PRETTY GOOD BUILD UP OF BONUS POINTS AFFECT THE WAY YOU APPROACH TALLADEGA?
“Well, I think it just kind of depends on how this weekend goes.  If we have a solid week where we gain a good amount of stage points and finish good in the race, where we can gain points on ninth place, I think you could approach it differently and be more cautious.  But if we have something go wrong here and we are close, I think you have to race it.  So, where those guys that are further down in points than me they are probably going to have to race no matter what, so yeah, I hope we can get through this weekend smooth and gain a lot of points.  Because I don’t like Talladega, especially in the playoffs it is nerve racking.  So, I hope we can just capitalize on this weekend and have an easier weekend on ourselves next week.”

WHAT DO YOU HAVE TO DO TO FURTHER COMPETE AGAINST THE TOYOTA’S? 
“I don’t know, I feel like we have been really good.  I feel like I’m even better now in the Playoffs than we were in the regular season compared to them, so far anyways.  I feel like we’ve closed the gap a little bit, but other teams have closed it even more.  I think Hendrick has done a really good job so far. The No. 2 team has been strong.  Yeah, I don’t know though, I feel like the No. 42 team has been really for most of the season the only one to compete with the No. 78 and No. 18, so we will just continue to work hard and see if we can find small gains or big gains to get even better.”

HOW ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM APPROACHING TODAY AND TOMORROW’S PRACTICE SESSION GIVEN THE THREAT OF RAIN ON SUNDAY?
“Well, it’s a pavement track so I feel like the conditions are always fairly the same every time we come around, so I don’t think… I haven’t talked to them yet.  We had like our practice plan that we met about on Wednesday and it was basically the same as every week.  Start in race trim, swap to qualifying trim, things like that.  So, I don’t think it will change a whole lot.  I know a lot of people talk about ‘oh when it rains it washes all the rubber away’, well, rubber gets laid down super-fast anyway so to me all the conditions anytime we get rain or any sort of weather it goes back to normal really quickly.  I think what could change is if we race at day or night.  Charlotte seems to be the most sensitive track for the sun.  So, that will be interesting, but I feel like I have run more night races here than day, so we’ve got probably a good notebook if we end up racing at night.”

DO YOU THINK THAT YOU HAD TO LEARN HOW TO WIN AT THE CUP LEVEL?
“Yeah, I guess, I put myself in a lot of positions to win throughout the first two and a half years of my NASCAR career and I seem to kind of choke I guess late in the races.  But each of those losses I had I learned something from each of them and I became calmer at each of them.  So, I think now this year with having even better race cars and stuff and putting myself in position even more seems like half the season I feel like we have had a shot to win.  Yeah, I’ve gotten smarter and calmer and stuff like that.  Just controlling your emotions and thoughts I guess, so yeah, I think I’ve gotten better at winning or whatever or learning how to win.  But our race cars I think are the biggest factor in all that.”

DO YOU THINK CHASE (ELLIOTT) IS GOING THROUGH ANY OF THAT?
“I feel like Chase is, I feel like, I don’t know he has probably ran second as many times as I did before the first win and been close just as often as I have, maybe even in some cases more often.  But, I don’t know he seems extremely mature so I’m sure he’s dealing with it fine. He seems so far, this year he has dealt with all the close finishes way better than he had last year.  I think that is a case of him learning from each of those losses and just becoming calmer and more mature.  He will win and when he wins one he is going to win a lot, similar to kind of what I did this year.”

TALK ABOUT THE MEETING TOMORROW WITH OTSUKA AND WORKING TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH:
“Yeah, this is our first weekend having them on the quarter panel there and they are on (Alex) Bowman’s Xfinity car as well as my Cup car.  Yeah, I mean I hope we can grow and build on that relationship.  It is always fun and exciting when you can bring a new partner in and be a part of your team and organization.  I hope we can do what we can to raise awareness for mental health like they want us to and can build on that in the future and have them be a part of our team for a long time.”

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