MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO SUGAR 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 5, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed the race with Kyle Busch last week at Chicagoland Speedway, whether or not he weighs risk versus reward during a race, vacations as a youngster, and more. Full Transcript:
“Yeah, I’ve read a little bit of it. It’s all good in my direction. I think there’s still a lot of people that don’t really like Kyle Busch that have some things to say about him. It’s been cool to see and nice to see the support and to see the passion of a lot of race fans.”
AN ISC EXECUTIVE SAID THAT SOME OF THE ATTENDANCE IS DUE TO THE LACK OF STAR POWER AND THAT THE SPORT NEEDS THE YOUNG GUYS TO WIN AND BUILD THEIR BRANDS. DO YOU FEEL ANY RESPONSIBILITY TO THE SPORT AS FAR AS PRESSURE TO WIN?
“No. I’m out there trying to put on a show every week. I feel like I do a good job of putting on a show for the fans and I might not post stupid videos every week or stuff like that to try and gain fans, but I try to gain fans on the race track. So it’s not a big deal for me to try to sell myself as somebody I’m not. So yeah, I don’t feel big pressure. I just like to race hard and try to gain fans that way. I feel like I did a good job last week.”
EVERYONE SAW THE INITIAL REACTION, THE THUMBS-UP AND THEN THE HANDSHAKE AFTER THE CHICAGO RACE. WHAT IS THE PROCESS OF EMOTIONS? DO YOU EVER HAVE A MOMENT WHERE YOU ARE KIND OF TICKED-OFF BEFORE YOU REALIZE OH, WE’RE RACING, AND IT’S COOL?
“Not last week. But there are other times where yeah, you’re pissed off and you see a video or something or a replay and you’re not that upset. But last week, no. I wasn’t upset at any point when I was sliding through (Turns) 3 and 4 or anything like that. I was cool with everything.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE PLAYOFF SITUATION WHERE SO MANY GUYS ARE STILL LOOKING FOR A FIRST WIN, AND EVEN A PERSON LIKE IN YOUR SITUATION, WHERE YOU ARE WINLESS BUT YOU ARE IN A GOOD POINTS POSITION, WILL THAT CHANGE THE INTENSITY OF THE RACING ON SATURDAY?
“I don’t know if it will change the intensity of the racing. I feel like the racing is always pretty intense when you come to Daytona and Talladega because there’s a lot of opportunity for people who might not typically get a win, to get a win. So no, I don’t think the racing will be much different. Even though we’re comfortably so far in the playoffs, I was looking at the points a little bit this week and I have zero playoff points. I need to start winning some stages, and a race would be nice, and start getting some bonus points because there’s a lot of drivers that might not have a win but that have a handful of stage points or playoff points, so that will give them an advantage once we get to the playoffs. Not that I’ll be any more aggressive or intense because I’m aggressive and intense every week. But yeah, it would be nice to start winning some stages and a race.”
DO YOU REMEMBER A SPECIAL VACATION THAT YOU LOVED WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG AND IF YOU HAVE TO PASS THAT ALONG TO YOUR KIDS? LOOKING AHEAD TO KENTUCKY, WITH THE TIRE DRAGGING, IS THAT MAKING MUCH DIFFERENCE? IS THE TRACK COMING IN AT ALL?
“I honestly never went on a vacation until I think my first vacation was like going to New Zealand to race. And I wouldn’t even call that a real vacation even though it felt like one. But we would just go to race tracks all the time and watch races growing up. We’d either watch racing or I had go-kart races to run so I couldn’t go on vacation and I would have rather had it that way anyways. I just have a lot of memories. Even though it wasn’t a vacation, I have a lot of good memories of racing throughout summer and being out of school and I guess going to stay with my friends at their houses throughout the week and just do fun stuff with them. I haven’t been on too many vacation maybe five or six vacations in my life.
“And then Kentucky, I think they’ve repaved it again since we ran there last time. But yah, the tire dragging does an okay job. It’s better than not doing anything at all. I don’t think it makes the racing fantastic. I think it helps us get a groove quicker than normal, so I like the tire dragging.”
A RACE LIKE LAST WEEK, IF YOU WIN A RACE LIKE THAT, IS THAT MORE FUN FOR YOU THAN SAY WINNING BY 3 SECONDS OR HAVING NO REAL CHALLENGE?
“Winning is fun any way you can win it. I had a good time winning the Xfinity race the day before by I don’t know how many ten seconds or whatever I had, so that was a lot of fun to dominate. But then yeah, I think if you can win an exciting finish, something that you had to work really hard for, is also fun and satisfying. So, I don’t know. It’s all the same.”
IT’S ALL GOOD
“Yeah. I’d have fun winning a fuel mileage race, too (laughter); I haven’t done that.”
ONE OF THE THINGS THAT PROBABLY EXCITES YOUR FANS OR ANYONE WATCHES YOUR STYLE OF RACING AND HOW YOU GO ON THE HIGH-SIDE, HIGH-END, AND HIGH-GROOVE, BUT IT ALSO SEEMS IT’S ALSO EXCITING BECAUSE IT SEEMS IT COULD BE AS DANGEROUS AS IT IS SUCCESSFUL. ONE MISTAKE COULD RUIN YOUR CHANCE OR YOU COULD END UP WINNING. HOW DO YOU APPROACH THAT? IS IT JUST YOUR STYLE OF RACING? DO YOU WEIGH THE RISK VERSUS REWARD MUCH WHEN YOU DECIDE WHEN TO DO THINGS LIKE THAT? OR IS THAT JUST HOW YOU RACE?
‘I would say looking back at last week, not the finish, but the whole race, yeah, I would say, even though to race fans it might not look like I weigh the risk versus reward, but I waited three quarters of the race to start running the wall in (Turns) 3 and 4 even though I knew it was maybe a little bit better for me just because I didn’t want to run up there the whole time and make a mistake and get into the wall. So, I kind of saved that until the end. And even at the end, I wasn’t running as hard as I could. I felt like coming to the white, I was like all right, I’m going to try to run wide-open once I get up here, and I nailed the corner and got a huge run on the No. 18 (Kyle Busch). I wish I would have played more risk earlier and maybe had a better shot to get by him earlier. But yeah, I feel like I’ve become a lot smarter racer, even when I run the top or do crazy things more so than when I was just getting started; even though, like I said, race fans might watch me race right now and still think that I’m crazy and don’t weigh the risk versus reward. But in my mind, I am.”
YOU SOUND LIKE YOU MAYBE WEIGHT RISK VERSUS REWARD A LOT MORE THAN PEOPLE THINK
“Yeah, I think my style looks so wild and aggressive that people don’t think I weigh the risk versus reward, but I do. I do a lot. Otherwise, I’d hit the wall at lap 30 other than mile 390.”
DID YOU HAVE A CHANCE TO REVIEW THE LAST LAP AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU MIGHT HAVE DONE DIFFERENTLY TO STAY AHEAD OF KYLE (BUSCH) AND NOT GIVE HIM A CHANCE TO GET BACK TO YOU?
“Yeah, I have probably watched the last two laps at least 20 times – or more. But yeah, I don’t know. I feel like off of turn two it really worked out good to get in front of him. I guess I would have liked to have three and four back to maybe run in there a little further. But like even Kyle had mentioned, he thought I was going to do that. To try and get away from him. And then he was going to try and stick the bottom to try and get underneath me. I knew going down the backstretch if I ran in there crazy hard to try and get away from him, the bumps in three and four would have upset me and I would have gotten really tight. If he nailed the bottom, he would have probably just drove by me off of four. So, I didn’t want to do that, but you know, if you have a second try at something…..I would at least now like to try it to see if I could stay in front of him to keep him away from my back bumper. Yeah, I don’t know if it would have worked out or not.”
DO YOU THINK YOU GUYS CHANGED THE PERCEPTION OF HOW GUYS CAN RACE EACH OTHER AT THE END OF A RACE IN MAKING CONTACT ON THE LAST LAP LIKE THAT?
“I think it depends on just who it is. If there are guys that already don’t get along that race that way, they are still probably going to be mad at each other at the end of the race. Where I have never had an issue with Kyle (Busch). He has never had an issue with me. So, I think there is a different respect level already before we got the white flag there. You can’t say it would be the same if it had been him and Brad (Keselowski), or him and Joey (Logano), or anybody else in the field. So, I really don’t know how to answer the rest of that question but for me I think I think about things differently and go about things differently than other people.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING AND HOW IMPORTANT IT IS AT THESE RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS AND GETTING AHEAD OF THE SQUIRRELS?
“Yeah, I mean there is about zero importance to qualifying here. Or Talladega. The pit stalls are long, and I don’t know, I feel like everybody is so aggressive at superspeedways that every single car, including myself, is a squirrel out there. I don’t think there is any importance to qualifying. There is an importance to qualifying in Xfinity, but not Cup. Just because for where you qualify tomorrow, it benefits your pit stall selection for next week. But as far as Cup, it doesn’t matter.”
AT THIS POINT OF THE SEASON, DOES STRATEGY CHANGE AND ARE THERE DIFFERENCES THAT YOU ARE GOING TO ENCOUNTER?
“I think for every team it might be a little bit different. For us, I feel like we have a different points position for where we are which is somewhat comfortably in the Playoffs. But like I said, we don’t have any stage wins or Playoff points. Then you have other teams who are out of position of making the Playoffs and maybe you will see them do a little more desperate things when it comes to strategy and stuff like that towards the end of races. Trying to luck into a win or something like that. But as far as ourselves, I don’t see us doing much of anything different throughout this point until Indianapolis. Other than doing a better job of getting stage wins or race wins. But I wouldn’t think we would be any more desperate.”
YOU DID A TIRE TEST AT THE ROVAL LAST MONTH, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT AT THE UPCOMING TEST NEXT WEEK?
“I haven’t heard anything really about the test, like if they have different tires or anything like that. I have been there twice now and each time they have made a little bit of a different change to the track to make areas a little safer or hopefully a little better to pass. So, I haven’t heard anything about the upcoming test.”
ITS JUST A TEST WHERE YOU CAN DO ANYTHING YOU WANT
“Oh, okay. (laughs) I will be there.”