MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
HOLLYWOOD CASINO 400
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
OCTOBER 19, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S TRICK. TREAT. WIN! CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Kansas Speedway and discussed his position in the Playoffs coming into Kansas, his comments from last weekend at Talladega and many other topics. Full Transcript:
DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE BASIS OF YOUR APPEALS ARE IN THIS? HOW DO YOU FEEL IF YOU END UP HAVING A 36-POINT DEFICIT GOING INTO SUNDAY?
“I don’t know much about the appeal stuff. I kind of just drive the race car. Obviously, a 10-point penalty doesn’t help, but I felt like with even being 26 points back we were going to probably have to go into this week and get a win to make it to the next round. It doesn’t really mean much to me the 10 points like I said because I view this weekend or viewed it before that we had to come in here and win.”
ARE THEY GOING TO APPEAL THE PENALTY FROM YOUR TEAM TO THE HIGHER LEVEL?
“I have no idea.”
YOUR COMMENTS LAST WEEK AFTER THE RACE WERE PARTICULARLY HONEST. YOU WERE FRUSTRATED ABOUT MORE ATTENTION NOT BEING PAID TO THE RESTRICTOR PLATE TRACKS. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL OF THAT MOVING NOW INTO KANSAS AND BEYOND?
“Yeah, I have always been a pretty honest person and it gets me in trouble here and there, but I don’t know last weekend was just a frustrating weekend and there are a lot of, I guess, stress that goes into the Playoffs. We will just move into Kansas and it’s a place that I really love coming to. It’s probably one of my top three or four favorite tracks to run throughout the season. And I feel like it’s one of our best tracks too. I’m actually excited coming into this weekend being behind because the two years that I’ve been knocked out of the Playoffs going into the cutoff race we felt like we were pretty good in points not even thinking about missing the round and we had a battery fall out at Dover and then blew an engine up here last year. So, at least this weekend we know what we have to do. I’m excited about that.”
WERE YOU FRUSTRATED WITH CHIP (GANASSI) AND/OR THE TEAM OR THE MOMENT LAST WEEK?
“I don’t know. I guess just frustrated with how far off we were basically is it.”
WITH THE DEFICIT THAT YOU HAVE HOW MUCH PRESSURE DOES THAT PUT ON YOU COMING TO A TRACK THAT WE ALL KNOW THAT YOU LIKE?
“Yeah, like I said I feel excited about it. I was a little bummed after Talladega obviously, then flying home I just got really excited about where we were headed to this weekend. I honestly feel like there is no pressure really. I think there is always more pressure to not make mistakes and you cost yourself the spot where you are already in the Playoffs or into the next round and then you are so worried about not making a mistake. Where in our position we know what we have to do and we can be aggressive, I can run hard all race long. I can, I don’t know, race with little care I guess and our team can make probably aggressive pit calls if the opportunity was there. I think it’s a cool position to be in. Obviously, it would be a little easier I think if we were 26 above the cut line, but at least we know what we have to do.”
HOW HAS MARRIED LIFE BEEN?
“Married life has been no different, honestly. I think when you already have two kids before you get married it’s no different.”
DO YOU KIND OF LOOK AT YOUR CURRENT SITUATION AND SAY ‘HEY WE FINISHED 11TH SO WITH A 10 POINT PENALTY IT’S A LOT BETTER THAN IF WE HAD NOT GOTTEN THAT DAMAGE FIXED AND WE ENDED UP FINISHING 39TH OR 40TH’?
“I don’t know. Yeah, I mean I guess… it doesn’t really matter either way. Last weekend is last weekend. I think if you had a 26-point gap, say you win both stages or something that would put you back in it depending on what kind of race (Martin) Truex, Jr. and (Clint) Bowyer and all those guys have. But, yeah, I don’t know. We will just go out there Sunday and run hard and hopefully it all works out.”
HOW CLOSE DO YOU THINK YOU WERE TO WINNING HERE IN MAY?
“In May I felt really, really good. I made a mistake in qualifying and spun and we had to change tires. We drove to the front pretty easily in the race and won the second stage. Passed guys like Kevin Harvick and (Kyle) Busch and (Martin) Truex (Jr.) and (Ryan) Blaney was really good that day. Then, Harvick passed me on one of the later restarts and then Blaney and I got together and then we had to repair damage and stuff and was still able to recover and have some good restarts at the end to get to fourth. I felt like we had the best car that day. I felt like me, Harvick and Blaney were all pretty equal and kind of whoever could get out front was a little bit better. Yeah, like I said, looking at the run we had earlier this year and runs we have had in the past, I’m excited that Kansas is a place where you have to go and get a win. If Talladega was the cutoff race, I would be less confident I guess, but with it being Kansas, I’m really excited.”
WHAT YOU SAID LAST WEEK AT TALLADEGA ABOUT THE FACT YOUR TEAM FOCUSES LESS ON PLATE TRACKS MORE ON 1.5-MILE TRACKS DOES THAT SET YOU UP WELL FOR THIS RACE AND THE REST OF THE SEASON IF THINGS PLAY OUT WELL AND YOU ADVANCE? DID YOUR TEAM HAVE ANY FEEDBACK? ANY PLANS TO FOCUS MORE ON PLATE TRACKS IN THE FUTURE?
“Yeah, I think if you look at Chip Ganassi Racing at least since I’ve been here, 1.5-miles have been our best tracks. And especially I feel like the smooth kind of high grip places like Kansas and Michigan is a 2-mile track, but I feel like these places are pretty similar. So, yeah, I think all that kind of adds confidence when you come to Kansas. We will just see how it goes. I know we will be fast and we will lead laps and things like that. We just have to try and capitalize and have a good race.”
MARTINSVILLE IS A TRACK THAT YOU HAVE STRUGGLED WITH. IS IT A PLACE YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE WITH OR IT IS THE CAR SET-UP? WHAT IS IT THAT YOU ARE GOING TO LOOK AT AS YOU HEAD TO MARTINSVILLE NEXT WEEK?
“I think it’s definitely all me. I feel like whenever we go to Martinsville and why we struggle it’s just a difficult place for me for whatever reason. Maybe we don’t have the best race car or set-up there, but I feel like I’m worse than what the potential of our car is. Because even… you know Jamie (McMurray) has kind of fallen off maybe a little bit at Martinsville the last couple of years, but even when he was running well there I was still running like 25th. I work really hard on trying to get better there and all that, but for whatever reason, I struggle, bad.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN REACH YOUR POTENTIAL IN NASCAR WITH CHIP GANASSI RACING?
“Yeah, for sure. I wouldn’t be there if I didn’t think that I could. I like being in that kind of spot where you are with a team that has a smaller budget probably than your Stewart-Haas’ or your Penske and Hendrick, and Gibbs and we can compete with them. I get a great satisfaction out of running and competing with those teams and beating them often. So, yeah, like I said, I wouldn’t be with Chip if I didn’t think that we could win championships or have the potential to win races and championships. I love it there and like I said, I wouldn’t waste my time if I didn’t think that we had the potential to do something good.”
AS SOLID AS YOU GUYS WERE OUT OF THE BOX AT THE START OF THE YEAR, YOU KIND OF CARRIED THE BANNER FOR CHEVROLET, HAS EVERYBODY ELSE KIND OF CAUGHT UP WITH YOU GUYS AT THIS POINT?
“Yeah, I think so. Our team did a really good job with the transition in bodies through the off season to start this year. I felt like we were definitely the best Chevy team for a while and then it seemed like the Hendrick teams and even RCR got a lot faster at the mid-point of the season. We got better too, everybody is making their stuff better, but maybe our gap to get better was tougher than theirs, but we still have good speed we have just been a little inconsistent the last couple of weeks. We have run second like six times this year and led the most laps at a handful of those races and just haven’t gotten the wins. Just got to be able to close these races out better than I have here this season.”
WITHOUT DOCTORS KNOWING EXACTLY WHAT IS CAUSING KASEY KAHNE’S DEHYDRATION ISSUES, DO YOU HAVE ANY CONCERNS LIKE ‘OH MY GOSH THIS COULD HAPPEN TO ME’?
“No, I mean, I guess the selfish part about life is you never think that anything can happen to you until it does. I haven’t thought about that or anything like that, but I’m just glad Kasey can still race. Even though it’s not NASCAR he still gets to have fun and run the shorter stuff with sprint car racing and things. It’s definitely crazy that Kasey being probably one of the top three fittest guys in our sport has a dehydration problem, but he feels fine like nothing is wrong until he gets inside the car and he just can’t control his sweat and heartrate. I’m jealous that he is racing at my favorite race track this weekend, one of my favorite events too. I will be tuned in watching him and all my friends race out there in California.”
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE AT GANASSI THAT IS CONCERNING YOU AT THE END OF THIS SEASON AND LOOKING INTO 2019?
“No, I think we are just focused on trying to do what we can this weekend to make it into the next round. Yeah, I mean it was just a frustrating weekend being that far off. We have never been that far off anywhere in my Cup career. Like I said, we are just ready for Kansas and hopefully if we win this weekend we will move on to Martinsville, somewhere I struggle at where like I said earlier I feel like I’m the reason we don’t run well there and then Texas, we could win at and Phoenix we have ran well at too and Homestead is probably my best track. We will just move on from last week and try and do what we can to win a championship.”