NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
COKE ZERO 400
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JULY 3, 2015
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 COCA-COLA CHEVROLET SS met with media and discussed his year so far and desire to get his first Cup win and make it into the Chase, his approach to racing on superspeedways, his best moments thus far in the Cup Series, and more. Full Transcript:
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO HAVE THE COCA-COLA COLORS ON YOUR CAR THIS WEEKEND?
“It’s good. They are similar to our Target colors. It won’t be hard for my spotter to find me out there (laughs). Yeah, it’s cool to have Coke a part of the Target family this year. It’s pretty neat to be part of that. For this race, too, it’s neat to drive a Coke car out there and get some more recognition, and hopefully have a good finish. Daytona is my least statistical track, probably, with not really ever finishing a race here. But, I’ve learned more and more every time I go on a superspeedway, so I’m excited to get on the track later today and then hopefully have a good race on Sunday. It would be good to make it to the checkered flag in a Sprint Cup race here. I’m just looking forward to it.”
IS THERE ANY REASON YOU DECIDED NOT TO DRIVE THE XFINITY CAR THIS WEEKEND TO GET SOME MORE SEAT TIME? WHAT WENT INTO THAT?
“The Xfinity cars and the Cup cars don’t race anything alike, I don’t think, on superspeedways. And the style of racing is not my favorite. And I’ve been across the front stretch with all four wheels off the ground before, do I don’t really want to risk anything again, I guess. I don’t know; I just don’t like this style of racing, so I don’t need to risk anything.”
YOU’RE 18TH IN THE STANDINGS AND STILL IN THE HUNT FOR THE CHASE AND YOU’RE RIGHT THERE IN THE THICK OF THINGS. WHEN YOU COME TO A PLACE LIKE THIS WHERE ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN, DO YOU GO INTO THIS RACE TRYING TO DO EVERYTHING YOU CAN TO GET THAT WIN? OR, DO YOU GO INTO POINTS-PROTECTION MODE?
“You can’t do anything stupid to hurt your shot at winning the race on Sunday. But obviously I know that this is a track where a lot more teams and drivers do have an opportunity to maybe get a win here. And the way our season has been going, there’s a chance we could point our way into the Chase, but I highly doubt that. So, we need to go for a win. And this is a great track to do that. So, I’m just going to try to position myself throughout the race to be there at the last run. It would be great if we could get a win and get locked into the Chase and just move on. But, yeah, it’s definitely not my best track, I guess. I get caught-up in a wreck it seems like every time. So, I’ve just got to be smart and try and finish the race. If we get a win, that would be great, too.”
WE’VE SEEN THE VIDEOS AND PICTURES OF YOUR MOM AND YOU AND BEING A HUGE RACE FAN GROWING UP. WHAT WERE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PAINT SCHEMES ON THE CARS IN NASCAR IN THE ‘90’S?
“In the ‘90’s? I don’t remember. The DuPont was always one that you remember. So that’ll be cool that he (Jeff Gordon) gets to run that in a few weeks. The Blue Deuce was always cool. I don’t know. There were cool ones back then. I don’t remember.”
YOU MIGHT BE CONSIDERED TO BE A SOPHOMORE AMONGST THE YOUNG DRIVERS COMING UP. WHAT ARE YOUR GREATEST CHALLENGES AND BEST MOMENTS SO FAR AT THE CUP LEVEL?
“I had a lot of good moments last year; none, really, this year. To fire the races off better. That’s been our kind of struggle, I think, is to start most every race off being 100 percent competitive. We always seem to get there throughout the race, but that’s the tough part is just knowing those adjustment that you have to make after practice. But then the exciting parts I’ve had in my Cup career, a lot of them came last year. I almost won a few races. I didn’t win any, but I got close a handful of times, which was fun. Chicago, battling (Brad) Keselowski and (Kevin) Harvick and Jeff Gordon to almost get a win, was fun. We finished second at Fontana; so early in my Cup career, that was cool. Finishing fourth at Watkins Glen last year was awesome, so, a lot of the stuff last year. It would be nice to get some moments this year. But yes, so far it’s just been all last year’s stuff.”
YOU TALKED ABOUT THE POINTS ASPECT IS NOT AS REALISTIC FOR YOU TO MAKE THE CHASE AS A WIN WOULD BE. WITH 10 RACES LEFT AND ONE RACE WITH A DIFFERENT RULES PACKAGE AT KENTUCKY, AND ALSO POSSIBLY AT DARLINGTON. HOW DOES THAT FACTOR IN? DOES THAT POTENTIALLY HELP YOU OR HURT YOU? DOES THAT SUDDENLY, INSTEAD OF 10 RACES LEFT TO WIN, MAYBE YOU ONLY HAVE EIGHT RACES BECAUSE OF THESE CHANGES? OR DOES IT POTENTIALLY ENHANCE YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO WIN?
“I honestly don’t know. I haven’t been one of the drivers or teams, or (teammate) Jamie (McMurray) either, that’s been able to even test the new rules package. So, I don’t really know how we’ll be. Hopefully we will be good, but it’s hard for me to give an answer on that if that’s two more opportunities for me to win, or two less. I’m excited to get to Kentucky next week and get to drive the rules package. I know a lot of people in the shop are like oh, you’ll probably like it a lot with less downforce and all that. But it seems like in stock cars; whenever I’m loose I’m slow. And I imagine we’ll probably be pretty loose next week. I’m not sure. But I’m just guessing. So, I don’t know how that will fit me there. Hopefully it will be good. But, I don’t really know yet.”
HOW DOES CHIP GANASSI ENCOURAGE OR MOTIVATE AS YOU KEEP PLUGGING AWAY, TRYING TO GET THAT FIRST WIN THAT SO MANY PEOPLE ARE EXPECTING OUT OF YOU?
“He just tries to stay as positive as he can. I know he probably wishes we would, well, our whole team would win by now, but he’s been a great owner with not putting a whole lot of stress on us, yet. But yeah, it would be nice to get that win for him soon.”
IS HE AN ENCOURAGING TEXT-MESSAGE KIND OF GUY OR IN PERSON? HOW DOES HE COMMUNICATE?
“He’ll call me every night after the race and we’ll go over the race really quickly because that’s kind of how all of his phone calls are. Most of the time, we both look at the positives of the race, and there have been a couple of times this year where he’s gotten down on me, but that helps motivate me. So, I like that part of that, too. Yeah, Chip is a good owner. He understands auto racing and what goes on through a race to get you up or down or whatever. So, that’s good. He’s a great owner. I love running for Chip. Like I said, he’s a racer himself and understands racing in general.”
Team Chevy racing photos are available at:
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