NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed this weekend’s race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, his chances of winning a race before the season ends, his favorite track and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT COMING TO NEW HAMPSHIRE THIS WEEKEND:
“This is probably not one of my favorite race tracks, but I seem to run pretty well here whenever I’ve been here in the three different types of cars. It kind of reminds me of IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park) which I like that track, so I think that kind of racing there helps me for here. It’s just harder to pass here. We finished third here earlier in the year, so hopefully we can improve on that or just still end up somewhere in the top five. I thought we were a seventh or eighth place car and was able to luck out on the pit strategy things and have enough fuel to make it to the end. It would be nice to get a win. I was just doing an interview with Race Hub and they said there have been 13 different winners I think in the last 13 years. Hopefully we can make it 14.”
IT’S AMAZING HOW MUCH TRUST THESE CHASE CONTENDERS PUT YOU IN. HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT YOU’VE GOTTEN TO THAT POINT WITH THESE GUYS?
“I think to run Nationwide last year you get to run with a handful of Cup guys. Then all season long (this year) I think if you race them hard, but don’t make any mistakes around them, which cost them you gain respect that way. I feel like I race hard every week and have been lucky enough not to affect anybody and hopefully it stays like that. I think like I said if you race them hard, give and take throughout the race, then you race them hard and clean that is how you gain the most respect.”
WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE REMAINING TRACKS IS THERE SOMEWHERE YOU FEEL BETTER ABOUT GOING TO THAT YOU REALLY LIKE YOUR CHANCES MORE THAN ANOTHER TRACK?
“I think Kansas will be a good one for us as well as Texas, maybe our best shot. We were running in the top five there pretty much the whole race early in the year. Homestead is my favorite track. You run the wall there similar how you did in Chicago. Hopefully if I can keep it out of the wall I can be up front. Those three, Charlotte I think we will be pretty good at. I was surprised I wasn’t very good during the (Coke) 600. I feel like Charlotte is a good track for me so if we can do there and run well also.”
PRIMARILY 1.5-MILE TRACKS?
“Yeah, those are by far my best tracks. Martinsville is my least favorite. It will be the toughest one for sure. The 1.5-mile are my best.”
SO FEW ROOKIES GET A CHANCE TO RUN UP FRONT WITH SOME OF THE BEST IN NASCAR WHAT DO YOU LEARN FROM THEM RUNNING UP FRONT AND GETTING THAT OPPORTUNITY?
“The more you run up front with those guys the more you learn from them. I don’t know if there is a particular thing that I can say I’ve learned, but I’m sure there are other situations that are similar to how it was last weekend or anytime you run up front. You kind of remember that and you do a better job the next time around. I think I learned a little bit about handling the air when you are behind people. There is a bunch like I said, but I don’t really know until the situation pops up again.”
IS THERE A HUGE DIFFERENCE RUNNING IN 20TH AND RUNNING WITH GUYS LIKE HARVICK OR GORDON?
“I don’t know. I felt like last week I was up front for most of the race and I feel like you race even harder when you are up front rather than when you are 10th – 15th. You kind of just try and make it to the next pit stop to make your car better where when you have a good car and you are up front you just race hard the whole time. I don’t know if everybody else is, but I felt like I raced hard the whole race and it made it a lot of fun.”
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE GETTING MORE COMFORTABLE WITH TELLING THE TEAM WHAT YOU NEED AND KNOWING WHAT YOU NEED THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF A RACE?
“I think it’s made the biggest difference for running well the whole race kind of is understanding how I want the car to feel at the end of happy hour. Where before the first half of the season or so and the first half of last year in the Nationwide season I would always try and get the car looser and looser so I can go faster and then you start the race and you are way too loose. You spend the first half of the race just trying to get back to being competitive. I think now I understand better where I want the car to feel in happy hour where we can start the races better and kind of just go from there.”
IS THERE ANYTHING ABOUT THIS TRACK THAT LENDS ITSELF TO PRODUCING SO MANY DIFFERENT WINNERS IN A ROW?
“I don’t know they asked me that question. I really don’t know. It’s maybe because it seems like there are always a lot of pit strategies that go on here and teams gamble and make it work. Maybe the fastest car doesn’t always win.”
DO YOU EXPECT TO WIN A RACE BEFORE THE YEAR ENDS?
“Yeah, every race I will sit in the motorhome and watch TV and flip to Twitter. Everybody always says this is your weekend. I believe them (laughs), but it kind of sucks when you don’t win, but I definitely feel like we are really close. We have been close a couple of times this year. Heck, we were just a little bit off of winning at Fontana. Then I thought we had the first or second best car last week. If I could have done things right we could have two wins this season. I think it is coming. I hope it’s before the end of this year. But if not we won’t be too disappointed because we have been running well all season long. I didn’t win any Nationwide races last year and then I feel like I’ve been really competitive this year in Nationwide. I’m sure starting next year we will be really good in the Cup series.”
WHAT DID YOU LEARN ABOUT SCRUBBING THE TIRES AND HAVING THE TIRE RUB? WHAT DID YOU THINK ABOUT AFTER YOU DIGESTED ALL OF THAT THIS WEEK?
“Just under yellow? (Media nods yes). I don’t know I didn’t watch any video of just scrubbing our tires and more just the racing part. I don’t know. I know I wasn’t crowding him, but maybe he felt like I was. I don’t know it’s not a big deal I still finished the race. I would have been more upset if I didn’t.”
AS YOU ROLL AHEAD AS A ROOKIE WHAT IS YOUR MORAL COMPASS ON THAT?
“I’m not going to do anything different, just roll around under yellow. I don’t feel like I did anything wrong. I feel like I left him plenty of room.”
NOW THAT PEOPLE EXPECT YOU TO WIN DOES THAT CHANGE YOUR APPROACH GOING INTO A RACE WEEKEND?
“I don’t know. Just trying to go out there each week and do the best job you can. Like I said I think we are close. I don’t think our mindset changes anymore now that fans think or expect us to win. Just go out there and try and do the best job and hopefully it works out at the end of the race. It would be nice to be the dominating car more often, but we will get there. I think our Target team is getting better and better each week. Just keep working hard.”
RACE CAR DRIVERS WORK A LONG TIME TO GET RESPECT. I KNOW YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT THAT A MOMENT AGO. WHAT DOES THAT RESPECT FEEL LIKE WHEN A GUY THAT FOR 20 PLUS YEARS HAS BEEN THE STANDARD TAKES THE TIME AS SOON AS HE GETS OUT OF HIS CAR AND COMES DOWN AND LEANS IN YOUR EAR AND HAS SOMETHING TO SAY TO YOU AT ALL, MUCH LESS SOMETHING SO COMPLIMENTARY?
“It’s awesome. Before I even raced the K&N Series Jeff Gordon had a lot of respect for me and talked very highly of me. Same with Tony (Stewart) and Kasey (Kahne), but it seems like Jeff is my biggest fan over the last couple of years. It’s awesome to see a guy that like I said in last week’s media center, who has been racing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series as long as I’ve been alive to talk so highly of me. I don’t even know if he’s really ever even talked about another driver like he has with me. That makes it feel really special for me. Now I just want to go out there and beat him more often. But like I said it’s great to have somebody who is a hero to so many people be kind of a huge fan of myself. It’s been great.”
WHY FOR EXAMPLE IS MARTINSVILLE NOT A TRACK THAT SUITS YOUR STYLE? WHAT IS IT THAT MAKES UP YOUR FAVORITE VERSUS YOUR LEAST FAVORITE?
“The 1.5-mile tracks feel a lot like the 3/8th- miles, ½-mile race tracks that we raced on where you try and carry a lot of momentum. You have to search around for different lines and stuff. Places like New Hampshire and Martinsville are difficult for me because it’s different than what I’ve ever done. You have to get hard on the brakes and you just run the same line the whole time and just I think a lot of the guys that grew up racing bandoleros and legends and late models and stuff everything they did was on short tracks where you have to learn how to get your car around the bottom as quick as you can and get off the corner. That is why I think I excel on 1.5-miles is because they didn’t grow up learning that type of stuff where I did even though it wasn’t in a stock car. I think I’m getting better at the short track stuff where you have to use a lot of brakes and stuff like that, but not where I need to be for sure.”
YOU AND JAMIE MCMURRAY HAVE COME ON STRONG LATE IS THERE ANYTHING IN TERMS OF BOTH THE TEAMS MENTALITY OF HOW YOU CAN LOOK AT THE CHASE AND SAY WHAT CAN WE DO OR WHAT CAN WE LEARN THIS YEAR GO OUT AND WIN RACES TO SET US UP FOR MAKING THE CHASE NEXT YEAR?
“I think since we didn’t make the Chase I think you can work on 2015 stuff a little bit more, maybe not a whole lot. Jamie and I have been fast all year long we just didn’t get that win that we needed before the Chase started to get in. I really think both Jamie and I could make it to the top eight or whatever in the Chase and possibly to Homestead. Yeah, it’s just a shame we didn’t make the Chase, but now we get to work on developing stuff for next season and get a head start maybe a little bit.”
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