MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PURE MICHIGAN 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 11, 2017
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed racing sprint cars, how he is getting from Michigan to Knoxville to race tomorrow, regaining momentum heading into the playoffs and many other topics. Full Transcript:
BUSY WEEK FOR YOU KYLE, GREAT START AT KNOXVILLE AND NOW YOU ARE HERE AT THE SITE OF A RACE TRACK THAT YOU ARE PRETTY GOOD AT. COULD YOU WALK US THROUGH YOUR MINDSET GOING INTO THIS WEEK?
“Yeah, it’s already been a good week. Monday, I ran Oskaloosa (Iowa) and ran third. Wednesday, we won at Knoxville and here we have been pretty decent in practice so far. Could use a little more speed. I feel like the handling is okay, but could use a little more speed. And then, yeah, it’s fun. Michigan is a great track for us. We have won the last two times here. We have had some good runs before that as well. We have been off a little bit the last couple of weeks, but excited to be back here at Michigan where we do have success and can hopefully run well and get that momentum back. Yeah, Chip (Ganassi, team owner) is allowing me to go to Knoxville tomorrow, which is great. So, I will get to go and compete in the A-main there and then come back and try and go for three in a row here. Cool weekend for me and really excited for it.”
YOU MENTIONED IT HAS BEEN A ROUGH COUPLE OF WEEKS. HOW MUCH OF THAT HAS BEEN BAD LUCK OR PERFORMANCE AND ANY CONCERNS THAT YOU ARE KIND OF LOSING A LITTLE BIT OF MOMENTUM GOING INTO THE PLAYOFFS?
“Yeah, you know we have had probably more bad luck than bad runs. I think Indy we were pretty good at, fourth or fifth best car and the same at Pocono, but we broke a driveshaft at Pocono and got in a wreck at Indy. Watkins Glen we were definitely not very good, I didn’t think. I might be missing a race in there somewhere, but yeah, it’s just part of it. It’s hard to have a perfect season and be fast every week, but our team is excited about the racecar we’ve got here this weekend. They have found a lot of stuff in the wind tunnel earlier this week, so, happy about that. The car felt good, like I said, in practice, so hopefully we can make a solid weekend, have no mistakes and go for a third win.”
HOW DID YOU TALK CHIP (GANASSI) INTO LETTING YOU RUN KNOXVILLE?
“Well, I didn’t know he was going to be in Detroit yesterday with us as a part of the unveiling of the 2018 Chevy Camaro ZL1, so that was cool, but I rode back with him to the airport. We talked about it a little bit. He voiced his concerns about it, but I think more than me asking, I feel like Steve Lauletta (President, Chip Ganassi Racing) and John Olguin (Senior Vice President Marketing and Communications at Chip Ganassi Racing) at our race shop probably had the most impact probably on me being able to run, so, got to thank them, but ultimately, it’s all Chip’s decision. I know my fans really appreciate it. All my sprint car fans and NASCAR fans, so Chip is a hero today and this weekend. I appreciate it.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE THIS WEEKEND, HOLDING OF DONNY SCHATZ TOMORROW OR WINNING THIS RACE AT MICHIGAN?
“Equal I would say. To win a Cup race is extremely tough. Yeah, first off, I would probably say Michigan would be tough and to go for three in a row especially with how fast the Gibbs cars seem to be and also (Ryan) Blaney seems to be really fast. Yeah, both races will be really tough. To beat Donny and David Gravel from the front row that will be tough as well, but I feel like if we get through traffic I could compete with them and try to get a win.”
CAN YOU GIVE SOME MORE DETAILS OF HOW YOU WILL MAKE THE TRAVEL WORK BACK AND FORTH FROM HERE AND KNOXVILLE?
“There is no qualifying on Saturday. I ran my qualifying night on Wednesday and locked in the feature, I start ninth. As far as travel goes, we were going to take Kasey’s (Kahne) plane, but now it looks like to save us all some money, Richard Marshall and Priority aviation that is on the sprint car this weekend in Knoxville, he is going to help out with his plane to get us back and forth. Got to thank him as well. It’s only a little over an hour flight I think. I probably don’t even get on track until 8:30 pm or 9:00 pm on Saturday. The logistics part of it is not that tricky and not that stressful either. My morning on Sunday, well I don’t even do anything until about 11:30 a.m. in the morning, so, I will still be able to get plenty of sleep and be ready for Sunday.”
WITH TWO WINS HERE AND ONE AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY VERY SIMILAR TRACKS WHAT IS IT ABOUT THE 2-MILE D-SHAPED OVALS THAT WORK SO WELL FOR YOU?
“Yeah, I don’t know. These are 2-mile tracks, Michigan and Fontana, but they are both totally different just based off the pavement. Fontana is really worn about and here has got a lot of grip and a lot of speed, but for whatever reason our set-ups seem to be pretty good at both of these places. So, our team has done a great job with our high downforce cars and I think that pays off when you get to 1.5-miles and 2-mile tracks and we seem to have definitely hit on something for here, especially, and Fontana.”
TALK ABOUT RACING AT BRISTOL NEXT WEEKEND:
“Bristol is probably my favorite race track and then Homestead would be my best race track, but yeah, I always look forward to going there. It’s kind of like a 500-mile sprint car race, just of how aggressive it is and slide jobs, running the top, running the bottom. With the VHT around the bottom now you’ve got multiple lanes you can run. Traffic is intense. It’s just… you know a lot of these tracks you go to you can kind of ride a little bit throughout the middle portion of the race, but Bristol you are on edge the whole time racing hard and it makes it a lot of fun. Our race cars are pretty good at Bristol, could probably be a little better on the long run stuff. I feel like as the race goes on at Bristol and the track takes more rubber I tend to slow down and become more event with people, so if we could figure out how to keep the front tires on it for a long run and stay turning I will be pretty good.”
ANY PLANS FOR THE OFF WEEK?
“So, Wednesday night was supposed to be my last sprint car race of the season, but now Saturday will be, so our off weekend we are going to go celebrate (Ricky) Stenhouse’s birthday a little bit early in Tulum I guess. I don’t know where that is, but we are going to go on vacation. That should be fun. I don’t get to go on many vacations… well I mean I go on lots of vacations, but they are typically spent at a dirt track. So, this one will be spent with some sand and all that. I’m sure Danica (Patrick) will probably go on some like yoga retreat or something, but we will be relaxing on the beach.”
YOU HAVE HIT YOUR MAX ON SPRINT CAR RACES, RIGHT? SO, WAS THE ISSUE WITH CHIP THAT YOU HAD ALREADY DONE YOUR MAX OR JUST RACING ON THE SATURDAY BEFORE A CUP RACE?
“I actually hadn’t hit my max. I had 24 races, I can run 25, I’ve got 24 on my schedule. Because I will run Turkey Night after Homestead on Thanksgiving and I kept some open to go to New Zealand and race. So, I left one open just kind of the way it worked out and so yeah, now with running Knoxville on Saturday and if I get no rainouts I will be to my max by December 31st. Yeah, so my deal with Chip is I can’t race a sprint car or midget or anything really the night before I’m on track. So, like I couldn’t have raced last night in Knoxville and practiced today that would have been against the contract, but that is why I ran Wednesday because I have to have an off day. That is how it works out and I think it’s fair and I still get to run a lot of races. So, I’m thankful for Chip to even allow me to do what I get to do right now. It’s especially nice though that he is making an exception for Saturday night.”
IS IT JUST SO YOU ARE FRESH FOR SUNDAY?
“Probably I think. I think that’s got an impact on it to be fresh, but also it kind of gives him, knock on wood, if I got hurt it gives them an extra day to find somebody and organize all that.”