MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JUNE 29, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Chicagoland Speedway and discussed making his debut as a broadcaster with FoxSports1 during the Truck Series race at Eldora, why he continues to race sprint cars in his free time, why the No. 42 has yet to visit Victory Lane in the Cup Series and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT KINDS OF THINGS ARE YOU GOING TO DO IN ORDER TO PREPARE FOR YOUR BROADCAST DEBUT?
“I think actually tonight I’m going to go up in the booth and kind of check things out up there to learn as much as I can. I think Christopher (Bell), I think he will be down on pit road with whoever. So, yeah, I’m excited about it. I’m nervous though really. There will be a lot of homework that I think we have to do. We think we know everything about dirt, but I think once we get into that element we are going to be scared and probably forget things to say and who is out there on the track racing. Definitely going to study as much as I can leading up to the event to try and do as good of a job as I can.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WILL LEARN BEING PART OF THE MEDIA? HOW IS IT GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT OTHER DRIVERS?
“Yeah, I think a lot of times for commentators that are our friends it’s hard for them to do their job and not be biased to us or whoever. I think when we are doing our job there at Eldora, I think we need to be as unbiased as we can be. We can’t talk up the dirt drivers more than we probably should just because I think fans might not appreciate that and feel like we are maybe playing favoritism. So, I think that is a lot of times a big issue for people in the booth who are friends with other drivers.”
KENTUCKY IS A TRIPLE HEADER WEEKEND AND THE RACE PRIOR TO THE ELDORA RACE. HOW MUCH WILL YOU GUYS BE PAYING ATTENTION TO THE TRUCK SERIES RACE THAT WEEK?
“Yeah, we will be doing that tonight or at least on the media side of things. Like I said, I will be in the booth, he (Christopher Bell) will be down pit road. Yeah, maybe for Kentucky it would be a nice little refresher before we go to Eldora. I just want to be as prepared as I can be to not embarrass myself too badly up there. I’m sure I will come across extremely nervous at first, but hopefully, I can open up and do a good job.”
NEXT WEEK IS DAYTONA WHAT DO YOU FEEL ABOUT THE INTENSITY THERE GOING TO DAYTONA? ALSO, ANY FOURTH OF JULY PLANS?
“I mean as far as Daytona goes I don’t really know I’ve heard talks about like more downforce maybe than what we have had there earlier this year at Daytona and Talladega. So, I think that will probably help the racing out if we do, do that with the hotter temperatures and things like that. Yeah, I don’t know I really haven’t even thought about Daytona a whole lot. I don’t really know if there is much to even think about at Daytona leading up to Daytona because it’s the same style of racing every time you go there.
“Then Fourth of July plans, well leading up to Fourth of July, Christopher (Bell) gets to run one more night than I do, but we are going to Pennsylvania to race with the posse there for their speedweek and then we will both be done on July 3rd and then we are coming home the 4th. I don’t really know what I’m going to do on the Fourth of July, probably just hang out with Katelyn (Sweet, Fiancé) and the kids and do whatever, maybe go on the lake or go to the pool or whatever. Just spend some time at home before I have to leave for Daytona.”
WHAT IS THE POSSE?
“So, Pennsylvania is like very their fans are well, yeah, their fans are very confident about their local drivers. I wouldn’t even call them local drivers because even if you are from a different state and you happen to end up in Pennsylvania racing every week they claim you as Pennsylvania. But, yeah, it’s just a passionate group of fans over their drivers. It is great for the sport, but they get on your nerves a little bit.”
WHAT IS YOUR IMPRESSION OF HOW TRUCK SERIES RACING HAS EVOLVED AT ELDORA COMPARED TO WHAT YOU MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT WHEN IT WAS FIRST ANNOUNCED?
“I don’t know. I think the style of racing it really depends on how the track is. That is the cool thing about dirt racing is the style of racing can be different year after year just depending on how the track is. The first year I ran, which was the first year of the event it was super slick and ended up actually taking a little bit of rubber and we could kind of run off of the wall a little bit. And then, the second year, it was just glass slick to the fence and you just get kind of single file up there and beat the fence down. Then I took a year off, I don’t remember how the track was that year. I think (Christopher) Bell won that year. And then the year I came back and ran it was pretty nice, we had a cushion actually to lean on. There was some moisture on the bottom. I felt like there was more side-by-side racing. I was able to kind of charge through the pack where in the past it was a little harder to pass. Then, last year was kind of similar I think to that. I think they have gotten the track prep figured out a little bit better and anytime you can get the track racy the racing is always going to be good. I feel like your regular Truck Series driver have gotten better. You know there are not too many Truck Series racers that spend too much time in the Truck Series because it is kind of the stepping stone to the Xfinity Series and Cup, but I think you look at guys like (Matt) Crafton and (Johnny) Sauter who have been there every year now and Crafton obviously won last year, so they have gotten a lot better at it. The racing has gotten good too.”
NEXT WEEK WE REACH THE HALFWAY POINT IN THE SEASON. WE STILL HAVE A PRETTY LONG LIST OF NOTEWORTHY DRIVERS INCLUDING YOURSELF THAT HAVE YET TO WIN. WHAT DO YOU THINK IS GOING ON THERE? ARE WE SEEING A SITUATION WHERE THERE IS A BIG SEPARATION?
“I wouldn’t say it’s a big separation, but there is definitely a separation between your top three guys are fairly close any of those three can win kind of every weekend. Then I feel like there is a step to myself, (Brad) Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, he might be a little better than we are, but I feel like we are right there. I have run second three times this year. I run second a lot, but yeah, I’ve been close a couple of races. We’ve just got to… I don’t know…their teams are just performing really well and they don’t make mistakes and when they do they can recover from them easily because their cars are really fast. Our team is making our stuff better and better every week. It seems like every time we got to a 1.5-mile they are really excited about the car they are bringing because it’s better than the last one. That is all you can ask for is just to get your stuff running better and developed a little bit nicer and hopefully that stuff pays off. I feel like we are close. I think other teams probably view us as being pretty close. We’ve just got to get the job done.”
WHY DO YOU KEEP RACING SPRINT CARS ESPECIALLY IN LIGHT OF THIS PAST WEEK’S TRAGEDY?
“Yeah, I think it basically just comes down to I love it. I think it’s terrible to see tragic things happen like that and you would think… I think the normal person out there would probably think like ‘wow why does Christopher (Bell) and Kyle (Larson) still go do that when things like that happen?’ And honestly, I don’t think about the bad stuff that could happen when I’m strapping into a race car. I just love sprint car racing so much. I love racing so much. It’s just a drug and I don’t think about the negative things I just enjoy doing it and think if you were to ever think about the negatives that is when stuff can go wrong.”
WHEN YOU COME TO THE NASCAR TRACK YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO GET IN TERMS OF SAFETY. WHEN YOU GO TO A SHORT TRACK THERE ARE ALL SORTS OF POSSIBILITIES. ARE THERE THINGS THAT WHEN YOU GO TO A TRACK DO YOU TAKE A LOOK AT THE ACTUAL TRACK?
“I mean I guess there are some… a lot of the race tracks we go to are pretty nice facilities, but there are definitely some that need some work and there are areas that you see would need work. I can’t think of any tracks off the top of my head. I think that comes down to the series whether it’s World of Outlaws or All Stars or USAC or whatever could do a better job of not necessarily demanding that the track become safer, but I feel like sprint cars a lot of times people look at them as being unsafe race cars. But, NASCAR stuff they have made the tracks a lot safer, which has made the race cars seem a lot safer, which the race cars are a lot safer than they were a decade and a half ago. I think they have made just as many improvements to the race tracks as they have the race cars. Where I think sprint cars, we have continued to somewhat make the race cars safer with tethers and straps and safety bars and stuff like that, but I don’t really feel like we have done a whole lot to make the track safer. The tracks that have become safer I feel like are tracks where they have had issues at. I think you look at Volusia, cars flipping into the crowd and then you come back and year later and they’ve got an amazing catch fence. I just wish the tracks would be a little more proactive or the series to be more proactive in making sure that the facilities they are going to are safer.”
ARE EITHER OF YOU GUYS CARRYING STICKERS OR DOING ANYTHING IN MEMORY OF JASON (JOHNSON)?
“So, the World of Outlaws had sent out a link to the logo that they are going to run. I had emailed that to my team to have them put it on my car. I don’t know if it got done or not. Okay, I got thumbs up it’s on, so I will have the Forever 41 sticker in place of where my name is on my car.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE BRINGING DIRT FANS INTO NASCAR?
“I feel like Christopher (Bell) and I do a good job of that not even really trying to. Every single time I race a sprint car or even at the NASCAR races I will have fans come up to me, but mostly at the dirt races fans will come up to me and be like ‘man you have really got me back into NASCAR. I left for a little bit but you are the reason why I pay attention on Sunday’s.’ Which is really cool. It makes me feel special. It makes me feel like I’m doing a good job for dirt racing and NASCAR racing trying to help bring a new audience or an old audience back to the sport. Yeah, I enjoy that. I enjoy, I guess, giving back a little bit to racing really in general.”
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