MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
GANDER OUTDOORS 400
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 5, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Dover International Speedway and discussed last weekend’s race at the Charlotte Roval, his outlook for the Round of 12 in the Playoffs, his thoughts on the 2019 rules package and many other topics. Full Transcript:
ON TESTING THE 2019 PACKAGE AT PHOENIX:
“Yes, we did about half the day or a little bit more in 2019 aero package. It just has way more grip. We ran through some different tire compounds and stuff to get an idea. All of them had a lot of grip so you could carry a ton of throttle. The acceleration obviously wasn’t the same as the ’18 package just because you have the bigger blade and stuff on the back. A lot more drag. So, acceleration wasn’t quite as much. It was pretty crazy how far you could run in the corner and then also how quick you could pick the gas up. I don’t know what it’s going to do for the racing at a track like that, but I feel like if we go there with a hard tire like kind of what we were testing on or what it seemed like Goodyear liked. I felt like that would be hard to race, but they still have time to tweak on it and hopefully bring a tire that will match that aero package and hopefully put on a decent race.”
CAN YOU REFLECT BACK ON HOW THINGS CHANGE IN THE PLAYOFFS?
“Yeah, last week was interesting. We were in a good spot to win the race and then that caution came out and then on the restart we all obviously went down into the corner and none of our cars turned. We crashed and I had a ton of damage. Very lucky that my team was able to repair it enough to go pretty much coast around for a few laps and I was also lucky with the crash damage policy that we only had three laps left in the race because I wouldn’t have made minimum speed, but that didn’t end up mattering. It was just working out to where I kind of knew the position that I was in and the No. 88 and the No. 10 were both passing cars and helping themselves out in the points and then with Jimmie (Johnson) crashing… I guess with Jimmie crashing it really didn’t affect me other than the No. 96 crashing I was able to get that point and go into a three-way tie. We had that second-place finish at Vegas that helped us out. Pretty wild, I had kind of given up that last lap and then about half way through it they said they were crashing and it took the No. 96, the No. 96 couldn’t get his engine re-fired so I got really lucky. So, hopefully, that means something for us and we can take advantage of the opportunity we were put in last week and go out there and have a good rest of the Playoffs and maybe make it to the Final Four.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS GOING INTO TALLADEGA NEXT WEEK?
“You want to have as good of a start to the Round of 12 as you can here at Dover to help ease your mind a little bit going into Talladega. Obviously, a win would be great, so you don’t have to worry about that place, but yeah, I mean I feel like our strategy in the past, I look at last year, we had a lot of Playoff points so we could kind of play it easy a little bit last year. We were able to have a shot to win and then got in a crash there last, but there were so many cars that had crashed that we finished 12th I think and left Talladega with a decent amount of points. But, then we blew-up at Kansas and it didn’t matter. But, now we don’t have a whole lot of Playoff points, so, I feel like depending on how this weekend goes, we will have to probably go out there and try and gain some stage points and get a good finish and cross our fingers that we don’t get caught up in a wreck.”
YOU HAVE HAD THE BAD LUCK OF THE PLAYOFFS, AS YOU SAID, LUCK TURNED AROUND IN YOUR FAVOR LAST WEEK. HOW DOES THAT FEEL?
“We will see. I mean, I had much more good luck last week than I had bad luck, but I still did have bad luck. I feel like being in another position to win a race with the No. 2 (Brad Keselowski) car probably not being able to make it on fuel and we were going to be fine on fuel. So, I was just kind of riding behind him and then we had the caution. I feel like I had my typical bad luck then and then I guess you can call it bad luck, I mean I kind of screwed up on that restart, but then yeah, we had a ton of good luck. Maybe this year is a little different. We’ll see.”
FROM WHAT YOU HAVE SEEN AND WHAT YOU ANTICIPATE NEXT YEAR DO YOU THINK WITH THE SLOWER SPEEDS THIS PACKAGE IS PROJECTED TO HAVE THAT IS GOING TO IMPACT YOUR ABILITY TO RUN THE HIGHER LINE?
“Yeah, I would say probably, but then at the same time it is going to be way easier to run the wall. So, with having the big spoiler on the car you will be able to run… I think it’s probably going to hurt me more because now it’s going to make it easier for other people to be able to run the top. I kind of think back to 2014 when we had the big spoiler at Homestead. Nowadays I’m like the only person that can run the wall, but then I remember I would get stuck 10th place or something just because everybody could run the wall. We had a tall spoiler then and we are going to have an even taller one I think next year. I think it takes a little bit of my advantage away at tracks like that, but our cars are also a lot better than they were back then too, so it might be different.”
DID YOU HAVE ANY INPUT INTO THIS PACKAGE DECISION?
“I’m not in the driver’s council. I haven’t been in it for a few years now. I didn’t have an opinion.”
ON GREG HODNETT’S PASSING AND WHAT SPRINT CAR TRACKS NEEDS TO DO TO IMPROVE SAFETY:
“Well, it wasn’t an Outlaw race where he passed away. I don’t even think the Outlaws go to BAPS (Motor Speedway). It’s just every race track needs to look at what they’ve got and try and make it better. I’m thankful to race in NASCAR where we have the money and the knowledge and engineering and all that to not only build safe racecars, but bring things to the race track that make our sport safer. A lot of those dirt tracks they don’t have the resources to make their facilities as safe as say Dover or any track that we go to on the circuit. I feel like, in sprint car racing, over the last handful of years we have worked hard to make the cars safer with tethers and things like that.
“Now, next year, adding bars to the roll cage and trying to beef up areas, but I don’t really feel like we have worked too hard until recently to make the facilities safer. It definitely sucks that we have to go through a tragedy like we have had a couple of times this year to have race tracks kind of look in the mirror and think of what they can do. Also, it wasn’t until Dale (Earnhardt) Sr. lost his life that NASCAR also started really working hard to update their stuff. I think you saw with William’s Grove last week adding barrels and stuff in areas of the race track that they thought were dangerous is definitely an improvement. Like I said, it stinks that you have to have a tragedy like that in order for tracks to update, but now is a good time. It’s going to take a couple of years. It’s not something that can happen overnight and that sport is never going to be 100 percent safe. NASCAR is never going to be 100 percent safe.
“Just got to keep working hard and hate that we lost Greg Hodnett. I didn’t know him personally a ton, but I did get to race with him quite a bit the last few years. It seemed like most all the races I ran, at least half of my dirt season that I’ve ran the last couple of years spent in Pennsylvania or Knoxville and stuff I raced with him. We’ve had some great battles at Grandview the last two years and then at Knoxville. I have always felt like Greg Hodnett was one of the greatest sprint car drivers of all-time. I don’t know if he was underrated or what, but I feel like maybe the new generation of fans and drivers didn’t really get to appreciate Greg Hodnett that much. But, for him to be able to accomplish what he did on the road is something that a lot of Pennsylvanians haven’t had the chance to do. He is a legend and he will be greatly missed.”
CAN SLOWER BE BETTER FOR RACING? THAT’S WHAT WE WERE TOLD EARLIER THIS WEEKEND WHEN WE WERE BRIEFED ON THE RULES PACKAGE
“I don’t know. You can’t really answer that until we see the product on the race track with the full field of cars. Me being a diehard core racer, I would say no. But, at the same time, the All-Star race was more exciting than any Charlotte race has been on the Oval. So, I don’t know. I want to go as fast as I can. But, you’ve also got to put on a good show for the fans and not only that, but I think with NASCAR’s plan to try and help the sport out in the future as far as cost goes, I think that’s where a lot of this package kind of leads to. We’ve just got to wait and see. There were only four of us at Phoenix. None of us ever really ran nose to tail. We’ll see how it goes. But, I’ll be driving and trying to win races just like I am now.”
HARRY GANT AND RICHARD PETTY USED TO RUN THE WALL HERE AT DOVER. WHY CAN’T IT BE DONE NOW?
“I don’t know. I never watched Harry Gant race. I don’t know. The cars are obviously way different. The cars and tires are different, so that’s what I would probably point to. It depends on, too, the temperature outside. Dover is really temperature-sensitive. Cooler temperatures these next two days. It warms up a little bit Sunday, so you might see people move up. I run the top here. I wouldn’t say I run inches off the wall, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody run inches off the wall, not even in the old videos I’ve seen.”
WELL, THEY DID
“I’d like to see the videos.”
JOSH WISE CAME OVER TO CHIP GANASSI RACING LAST YEAR. HOW HAS HE HELPED YOU AS A DRIVER?
“Josh is a huge part to Chip Ganassi Racing. In the beginning, and I don’t work out at all, in the beginning I felt like they were bringing him in to kind of be Jamie (McMurray) and my personal trainer. I mean, it’s great. But I didn’t know at the time, and maybe he didn’t even know at the time, what all his job was going to entail. I worked out a little bit and enjoyed it at times. But, I haven’t at all this year. And, I tell myself every week I need to, but I don’t. But, aside from that, I used to hate going to the Chevy simulator. But now, I feel like it’s actually at a point where we can learn stuff off of it and that’s all been because of Josh. Not all of it, but I would say 75 percent of it has been Josh and his communication with the engineers and stuff like that. In that part, he’s been really good. And then, I think pre-weekend preparation, as far as sending notes and in-car videos and talking about re-starts and the way the track changes throughout the race and how the lines change and stuff like that. All the stuff that you might think you know and might thing that I know it and I don’t need to watch video and watch the race over to know that. But then you forget things. Josh is really good at note-taking and relaying those notes to us. I feel like especially with John Hunter and Tyler Reddick last year, he’s been so-so good for the younger guys that don’t have experience and are super hungry to make it in the sport. So, it’s been really cool to kind of watch John Hunter and Josh this year from a distance a little bit and see the dedication that they both have to being at the top of the sport. So, I hope we can keep Josh a long time, even if I don’t work out (laughs), because I feel like he’s a huge asset to our team. And I will work out again someday, maybe.”
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