NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 29, 2016
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed his finish at Indy last week and his expectations for Pocono on Sunday, his plans for the Knoxville Nationals, what race weekend is like when a crew chief is absent, and more. Full Transcript:
YOU TOO PART IN SOMETHING REALLY SPECIAL THIS WEEK AT GREENBRIER. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT YOU DID THERE?
“Yeah, earlier this week; well actually before that, Denny Hamlin and me. Denny had approached me about if there was any possible way we could help out through Target with the floods that had happened there in West Virginia. So we got in touch with Target and they were going to allow us to go shopping for a bunch of toys. Denny and I, earlier this week, we went and bought close to $3,000 worth of toys. And yesterday we went to Greenbrier (County) there and got to deliver toys to a lot of kids. That was really cool. A lot of their families and stuff have lost everything; homes family members. I know there were quite a few people that died from the floods and stuff. So, to be able to contribute just a little bit with toys and see the smiles on some of the kid’s faces was pretty special. I know that Greenbrier and that whole community means a lot to Denny, so it was pretty neat to help out and pretty awesome that Target stepped up to let us do that.”
THE SUMMER OLYMPICS START IN ABOUT A WEEK. IS THAT SOMETHING YOU’VE GOTTEN INTO? IF SO, IS THERE A PARTICULAR EVENT THAT YOU LIKE?
“No, I haven’t ever really been into the Olympics too much. I don’t watch a ton of TV, and our lives are so busy already, that it’s hard to keep up with it. Wintertime, you don’t have a lot going on so I can kind of pay attention to the Winter Olympics a little bit more and follow along. But as far as the Summer Olympics go, I may catch highlights and stuff, but I don’t follow it a whole lot. Obviously you want to root for the United States to win as many gold medals as they can.”
TONY STEWART MENTIONED IN TALKING ABOUT THE DRIVERS COUNCIL THAT YOU WERE REAL QUIET AND THAN A WHILE BACK HE SAID SOMETHING TO YOU ABOUT SPEAKING UP. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT WHAT THE GUIDANCE FROM SOMEBODY LIKE THAT MEANS AND HOW YOUR COMFORT LEVEL IS MAYBE GROWING OR HOW IT’S EVOLVED IN BEING IN THE COUNCIL?
“I would still say I’m pretty quiet. But, yeah, I guess I speak up a little bit more. Last year was only my second year in Cup anyway, so I still didn’t really have an understanding or never even thought of stuff to make the sport better. So now in my third year in Cup, you obviously gain more experience each week as a driver and as a person. And the older you get, I guess you notice more things just outside of driving a race car on race weekends. So, yeah, Tony gave me a talking to, I guess. It wasn’t anything serious, but yeah since then I guess I’ve had more of a voice and not hold back on opinions, I guess. A lot of times we may all not agree on one thing, but it’s good to get your opinion out there anyway and get people thinking about it.”
ARE YOU TALKING MORE ABOUT RACING THINGS NOW OR THINGS DOWN THE ROAD?
“Personally for me, It’s probably just more racing-related stuff. It’s hard for me to pay attention to how many security guards are out there or stuff like that. I don’t get bombarded like Tony Stewart of Dale Junior might. So I don’t pay attention to it a lot.”
COMING OFF A TOP 5 LAST WEEK AT INDY, POCONO HAS BEEN A PRETTY DECENT TRACK FOR YOU. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN BUILD OFF INDY LAST WEEK TO POCONO THIS WEEK?
“Yeah, for sure. Pocono and Indy are two different race tracks compared to the rest of the race tracks we go to. But the two, compared to each other, they’re somewhat similar. Obviously they are still different but they’re the closest to each other. So, yeah we ran good there last week so I’m hoping to be competitive again this week. The asphalt is different with more banking and stuff like that. So, it’s hard to come here after running good last week and expect to run Top 5 again, but that’s what we hope for and we’re definitely working hard at that. We had a quick first practice. We only got one short race run in there with them working on the weepers through Turn 2 and off of Turn 1; and then did a few qualifying runs. So, I didn’t think we were great in qualifying trim, but in race trim I think we’ll be okay.”
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS FOR KNOXVILLE?
“My plans for Knoxville are hopefully flying there next Sunday after Watkins Glen. I’ll race Monday at Oskaloosa and then we’re off Tuesday. I think my prelim night is on Thursday, so I’ll race Thursday. Hopefully I’m good enough in points where I don’t need to race Friday. And hopefully I de-throne Donny Schatz on Saturday.
I’m racing for Paul Silva. I ran quite a bit for him the past three years; or whenever I do run a winged Sprint Car it’s normally for him. He’s from Sacramento, California where I grew up. He takes care of Rico’s (Abreu) Sprint Car stuff. Paul Silva is probably the top 3 best crew chiefs out there. He’s made his living doing it and working hard. He’s got a really good resume in Knoxville so we should be pretty good.”
WERE YOU SURPRISED THAT TARGET DROPPED OUT OF GANASSI’S INDYCAR PROGRAM AND WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN TOLD WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN BEYOND NEXT YEAR?
“Well, yeah, I guess surprised. They’ve been with Chip for so long now but things change and business models change and stuff like that. They’ll be back on our car next year so I’m looking forward to that and hoping to get them back into Victory Lane. It’s been a long time since they’ve been to Victory Lane in NASCAR. They’ve done so much for Chip and so much for me. I think the world of them and am just hoping for good success.”
DO YOU GET ANY SENSE THAT NEXT YEAR MIGHT BE IT FOR TARGET?
“I don’t know. I’m just more worried about racing right now. That’s more for the business people in the shop to worry about rather than me.”
KEVIN HARVICK IS WITHOUT HIS CREW CHIEF THIS WEEKEND AND YOU WERE IN A SIMILAR SITUATION EARLIER THIS YEAR AND HAD A GOOD FINISH. WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES TO HAVING A NORMAL AND PRODUCTIVE RACE WEEKEND WITHOUT THE REGULAR CREW CHIEF?
“Well, they’re still really heavily involved on the race weekend. Other than just not seeing them, it honestly to me didn’t feel too different. You still get to communicate with them quite a bit while they’re gone. And obviously Kurt Busch did fine with it. So once you get to the race part of it, I don’t think you notice a whole lot of change. So, I’m sure Harvick will be just as fast as he always is. So, I don’t know. It’s not a huge deal. It is always nice having your crew chief here, but when they’re gone….all these teams are so prepared already, that somebody can fill in for a week, I think.”