MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
CONSUMER ENERGY 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 10, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 DC SOLAR CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed running the Knoxville Nationals, the decision making that goes into mid-race decisions versus late-race decisions, the challenges of Michigan and many other topics. Full Transcript:
HOW ARE THINGS GOING IN KNOXVILLE?
“Iowa has been good. We were able to win Monday night at Oskaloosa and then had a really good prelim night Wednesday. We will start third tomorrow. Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz will be the two guys to beat, but I feel like we are close. It’s a long race. It would be neat to win that deal.”
TALK ME THROUGH THE MINDSET THAT GOES INTO MAKING DECISIONS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RACE VERSUS MAKING POTENTIALLY RACE WINNING MOVES:
“These races are so long that you just have to weigh the risk versus reward. You can kind of feel when it’s late in the race and when it might be one of the last restarts or something, so that is when you can kind of decide when to be aggressive. Not saying that we are not aggressive at those early race restarts and stuff because it’s so hard to pass you are always aggressive on every one of those restarts, but you can amp it up a little bit there the last restart or two. I would say a place like this they build. They get more and more intense every restart, especially the last… if you get a caution with say 20 to go you can kind of figure that might be the last caution, but there might be two or three more. That is about when it gets really aggressive. But, I don’t know, I feel like I’m always aggressive on every restart, but yeah, not trying to shoot the middle starting fourth like I did last year earlier in the race, but that was definitely the right time for it.”
DID THE WIN LAST YEAR HELP SOLIDIFY YOUR RUNNING THE KNOXVILLE NATIONALS THIS YEAR?
“I mean it’s hard to say if it guaranteed it, but yeah, I mean I didn’t really have to talk to Chip (Ganassi) about it. I remember last year when we got back to the race shop I think I went in there maybe Monday or something after the Michigan win and that was when Steve Lauletta was still there as our President. He was already talking about plans for this year. I kind of figured at that time that it worked out good enough that I could do it. Just very thankful that has an owner that lets me have fun and then especially on a weekend like this go be able to participate in the biggest sprint car race in the world the night before I’m on track racing the Cup car. You don’t see any other owners really doing that. Tony Stewart would kind of be the only guy that would have done that. Kasey (Kahne) in his situation he can too, but just very thankful for everything Chip does. He knows it’s important to me and I appreciate that.”
HOW DIFFICULT IS THE LOGISTICS TRAVELING FROM HERE TO KNOXVILLE AND BACK? IS CHIP GOING TO BE IN KNOXVILLE?
“No, I don’t think Chip is going to Knoxville. I don’t even know if he is going to be here this weekend. So, yeah, he’s not going to Knoxville.
“Logistics stuff, it started after Watkins Glen. Kasey (Kahne), Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.) and I all flew there right after Watkins Glen, which was hectic because Kasey raced Sunday night at Knoxville. My car owner, Paul Silva he didn’t want to do that because he didn’t know if we would make it there in time to qualify. But, yeah, Kasey we landed there and he had to get escorted straight to the infield and missed hot laps, but got to qualify. He had a pretty good night there. So, yeah, we flew from Watkins Glen there and then hung out all week and then Kasey and I flew here after the races last night. I think I got to motorhome at like 2:30 in the morning and then slept until about 11 (a.m.) so that was good. And then, yeah, so tomorrow our day is done so early here that I don’t know I think we are leaving at like 2:30 (p.m.) or 3 o’clock from here to go to Knoxville. Dirt racing stuff doesn’t get started until probably 7:15 or 7:30 (p.m.) tomorrow so it’s no rush, but it will be a late night. No appearances in the morning Sunday so I can sleep in again and we will be good.”
DO YOU SEE THE DAY THAT A DIRT RACE WILL BE ON THE CUP SCHEDULE?
“I guess I could see I happening because it seems like we are to the point where NASCAR is trying to do a lot of things to spice things up. I could see it happening. I have said it a lot that I would like to see it not happen just because I feel like the one Truck race we have on dirt makes dirt feel special. I would be afraid to get too much of it and kind of … I don’t know I feel like it would lose its prestige if we saw it on dirt a little too much. So, I personally would not like to see it happen. I mean, you never know what’s going to happen.”
YOUR DAD WAS QUOTED ON WEDNESDAY SAYING THAT THE KNOXVILLE NATIONALS IS NUMBER ONE ON THE BUCKET LIST OVER ANY RACE. IN JANUARY, YOU SAID THE CHILI BOWL WAS UP THERE WITH THE DAYTONA 500. DO PEOPLE UNDERSTAND BETTER NOW WHERE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY STAND ON HOW IMPORTANT DIRT RACING IS AND THAT IT DOESN’T MAKE AS MANY WAVES OVER HERE AS BEFORE?
“Oh no, it makes plenty of waves still. So, I feel like I need to avoid this question before I make everybody at NASCAR mad or some of my fans mad. I’ll just avoid answering that. I’ve been through this before a lot, so I’m learning more and more to just keep my mouth shut (laughter).”
WHERE ARE YOU WITH THE NEW PACKAGE FOR 2019? WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE IT MAYBE SPRINKLED AT A FEW RACE TRACKS NEXT YEAR, OR DO YOU JUST WANT TO WAIT AND SEE? ARE YOU ALREADY HAPPY WITH THE CURRENT PACKAGE WE’RE USING?
“I haven’t heard too much about the package other than it could be similar to what we ran at the All-Star race. I don’t know. I grew up racing, and I still race cars with 950 horsepower and weigh 1400 pounds and the racing is amazing. So, I want to go fast. I don’t want to go slower. I don’t think our racing has been bad at all this year. I think there have been some good storylines and some good hard racing, especially lately. I’m not an engineer and I don’t really know how to make the best racing, but I feel like we’ve yet to try low downforce with high horsepower. So, I’d like to see that before we go five seconds slower.”
WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOU GUYS ARE HEADING INTO THE PLAYOFFS? ARE YOU CONTENT WITH THE PROGRESSION YOU HAVE MADE THIS SEASON? WHAT DO YOU THINK THE TEAM IS CAPABLE OF IN THE PLAYOFFS?
“I’d like to be making as big gains as what, say, the Hendrick guys have. But, I feel like we started off way better than they did. So, they’ve had more room to get better. But I feel like they’ve kind of surpassed us maybe a little bit the last few weeks. And there are obviously other teams that are better than we are, too. I feel like we’re getting our stuff better every week. So far today has been really good. So, I’m happy about that. We just keep getting better and there are some good tracks for us in the Playoffs. If we could just get some luck one of these times in the Playoffs maybe we can make a run at the championship. So, we’ve just got to keep working hard and thinking about what it takes to get better and better every week; which, I feel like we have the right group of people at the race track and the race shop that we can do that. It’s all about just progressing and getting better. I feel like we are definitely doing that but there are other teams that maybe have made a bigger step than we have.”
YOU’VE RUN IN THE ROLEX A FEW TIMES. HAVE YOU EVER MET JIM FRANCE? WHAT ARE YOUR IMPRESSIONS OF HIM NOW THAT HE HAS OBVIOUSLY ASSUMED THE INTERIM HEAD ROLE HERE?
“I’m sure I have, but I don’t really remember. It’s been a handful of years since I ran with IMSA. I just hope that whoever who is in that position takes it serious and does a good job with it because there are so many people in this industry that want to see it succeed. I hope this is a good step to have a good change for us and get some good momentum back for our series.”
WHAT ARE THE PARTICULAR CHALLENGES HERE AT THIS MICHIGAN RACE TRACK?
“It’s hard to pass. Good restarts are always important at any race track, but I think this place, you’ve got to have good balance to be able to carry a lot of throttle through the corners to make the straightaways seem even longer than they already are, and be able to carry that mile per hour. I think being able to do that and be good at finding any bit of clean air you can on the nose to get those runs on people and not get trapped in their dirty air and stuff like that. That part of it makes it fun, going 200 mph or whatever we’re going, and trying to move around inches at a time to just try and get the best air you can on your car and do a good job on restarts, too. This place, every race I’ve won here has come from late-race restarts. I’ve got to be good at that, especially.”
HENDRICK SEEMED TO BE A LITTLE BIT BETTER AT POCONO AND THERE IS EVEN TALK THAT THEY MIGHT HAVE A NEW NEXT-GENERATION CHASSIS. HAVE YOU SEEN THAT? THE FORD TEAMS SORT OF SHARE STUFF A LITTLE BIT. IS THERE ANY SENSE OF COMMUNITY THERE ON THE CHEVROLET SIDE WHERE IF YOU KNOW IF THEY’RE IMPROVING YOU GUYS KIND OF UNDERSTAND WHAT’S GOING ON THERE?
“No, we get to look at each other’s engine data and that’s about it. They do their thing and we do our thing. You can definitely see that they’ve gotten a lot better here recently and I think that talking to some people on my team, it sounds like they’ve gotten their Hawk-Eye System finally, maybe a month and a half or so ago. So, they’ve finally be able to learn where they can push the limits on things. So, it sounds like maybe we have a Hawk-Eye coming, so I’m really excited about that. Hopefully we can get it up and running before the Playoffs start. We’re budget racing.”
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