MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
PENNZOIL 400 PRESENTED BY JIFFY LUBE
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 1, 2019
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 CREDIT ONE BANK CAMARO ZL1 met with media and discussed his expectations and unknowns of the new rules package for Sunday’s race, his approach to qualifying, the upcoming races at Phoenix and Fontana, and more. Partial Transcript:
DID YOU DO ANY FENCE-MENDING WITH ANY HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS PEOPLE TODAY OR TEXTING WITH ANY OF THOSE GUYS IN THE LAST COUPLE OF DAYS?
“No, not today. I spoke with Mr. Hendrick and just talked that over and apologized and let him know there was no harm meant behind it. It just came across wrong on my part. So, yeah, I felt bad about that but we’re both moving on and are here this weekend to race and hopefully have the same speed we had last week.”
DO YOU KNOW MR. HENDRICK VERY WELL?
“Just mutual. I’ve never like hung out with him or anything like that, but we always say hi. He’ll text me every now and then you know, good job or good luck this weekend and things like that. So, he’s always been very nice to me.”
BASED ON THE MEDIA ATTENTION THAT THE OUTLAWS RACE HAS GOTTEN THE PAST TWO DAYS, IT ALMOST SEEMS LIKE A MOMENT WHERE IT WAS ACCEPTED BY THE MAINSTREAM. WHAT WOULD IT TAKE, IF IT’S EVEN A POSSIBLE THING, TO MAKE THE OUTLAWS AND SPRINT CAR RACING MORE COMMERCIALIZED AND MORE RESPECTABLE MASS MEDIA RACING FORM; OR IS THAT EVEN A GOOD THING?
“I don’t know. I think like with anything, money, right? So, if we could get the Outlaws back on live TV would be great, but even tape-delayed. They have a couple, I think, throughout the year; but I think if we could just get more TV races, which takes sponsor dollars and like anything, it’s hard to find sponsors. But, I think that’s just one thing to help grow it. You know, now with them having every race in DIRTVision, I think that’s nice for guys like you to be able to tune-in and report on what’s going on. So, it was neat though, to see the crowd last night. The first night, the crowd was small. But then, last night I guess with the K&N race being there, it brought a lot of people and all three races ended up being a good finish, too. So, that was really neat to see how well it turned out. And, I think the track was a lot better for the K&N guys, too, that we had Sprint Cars there with them to help kind of blow the track back off and keep it from getting too dusty. I think the event went very well.”
WHAT’S THIS PACKAGE GOING TO BE LIKE ON SUNDAY?
“Everything I had heard coming in here was how much grip it had at the test. They ran 20-some laps wide-open. But, I was kind of shocked with how little grip; I still had a lot of grip out there in practice, but I thought there would be a lot more. We ran wide-open but it was still edgy. I think our cars are even more trimmed-out this weekend than they were last week, knowing that the track has more grip; so, you can feel that the car is more on-edge than I thought Atlanta was last week. So, maybe other teams are different. But, yeah, I was kind of shocked with how little grip it had. I think the race will still come down to handling and I think we’ll be able to move around again. We’ll see. I made a little draft run with Kurt (Busch) there for a couple of laps and I felt like the runs were definitely a lot bigger. So, I’m very happy about that. We’ll see how it is in a big pack.”
ARE WE IN A SIMILAR SPOT AS THE WEEK OF THE DAYTONA 500 WHEN EVERYBODY WAS TRYING TO PREDICT WHAT KIND OF RACING IT WAS GOING TO BE; AND WE JUST DIDN’T KNOW UNTIL WE HAD 40 CARS OUT THERE? ARE WE STILL JUST IN THE DAR UNTIL SUNDAY?
“Yeah, I think we’ll be in the dark until Sunday for at least through this West Coast Swing because we aren’t going to know what we’re going to have at Phoenix because that’s a totally different track than what we’ve been to this year. And then, you go to Fontana, a 2-mile track, and we haven’t been to one of those yet. So, I think we’ll have that same kind of flow to the weekend for the next almost month, or more, you know? I guess yeah, after we leave the West Coast, we have like Martinsville and Texas and Bristol and things like that. So, the tracks are very unique. Or the schedule has different race tracks to begin the year. So, it’ll be like that for a little while. That’s kind of cool.”
FOR QUALIFYING, WILL A 10-CAR PACK BE BETTER THAN A 4-CAR PACK?
“I don’t know. I think it depends on what kind of speed you have in your car. I think RCR has shown that they have a lot of speed. So, they could probably go out and just run by themselves and bust off a fast lap. But, for somebody like me who is 20-something in practice, I’m probably searching for the biggest group of cars in front of me that I can get behind to just try and get anybody to help. But then again, if maybe you get too close or too many cars in front of you, it could upset the handling of your car too much. So, I’m not sure what that number is of cars or group of cars that’s the magic number, but I’m definitely going to try to get behind however many I can.”
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU LOSE YOUR TRACK POSITION AT A RACE LIKE THIS? CAN CARS RECOVER DO YOU THINK?
“I don’t know. I thought last week, with how fast a car I had, I knew it would be tough to get to the front. I didn’t know it would be that tough. But, I think that was about at the point in the race where we not necessarily lost the balance on our car, but we were turning the other way and then we got in traffic and it just magnified it. So, I don’t know if that’ll be the same here. The surface has more grip here so maybe you’ll be able to handle a little bit better in traffic. I think the aero ducts will allow you to get those runs that you need to hopefully make some passes. But you don’t really know until you get into the race and put yourself into different positions.”
HAVE YOU HAD A CHANCE TO WORK WITH KURT BUSCH HERE IN PRACTICE?
“Yeah, we went out together our second run. He was the lead car and I was second. That’s when I made my fastest run. So I think the draft is a big deal. But, yeah, I don’t know. He was describing his car a lot and we feel a similar thing I think, in our race car; we just describe it differently. I think last week he was really happy with the car. We didn’t have to talk about it too much or try and make too many changes throughout the weekend. Where it seems like so far, today, it’s been pretty neat to listen to him talk about how he feels the car and how it transitions around the corners and things like that. So, I keep saying it, It’s going to be fun to work with him this year.”
DO YOU FIND YOURSELF SOMEWHAT CHALLENGED BY THE DESIRE TO WANT TO SPEAK CANDIDLY ON DIFFERENT TOPICS, SERIOUS OR JOKINGLY, AND ALSO HAVING TO BE POLITICAL AND MINDFUL OR AFFILIATIONS AND SPONSORSHIPS AND STUFF LIKE THAT?
“Obviously I think I could do a lot better job than I have sometimes. I think people like that I speak my mind. But, I think I can speak my mind in a better way sometimes and choose my words a little bit more wisely. I want to be who I am. And I think fans and media members appreciate that. But, at the same time yeah, I think in our sport you have to be a little bit more thoughtful before you speak sometimes. That’s something I need to get better at and I’ll work hard to do that. I don’t want to lose who I am, but at the same time I need to not get myself in trouble sometimes.”
IS IT HARD TO STAY GENUINE WITHOUT BEING TOO GUARDED?
“No, I don’t think so. I think I could be genuine with just using different words. Maybe I should buy myself a Thesaurus or something (laughs).”