MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
ISM CONNECT 300
NEW HAMPSHIRE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 22, 2017
CHEVY SS DRIVER, KYLE LARSON, EARNS RUNNER-UP FINISH AT NEW HAMPSHIRE
LOUDON, N.H. – (September 24, 2017) – Kyle Larson muscled the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS to a second-place finish in the second round of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (MENCS) Playoffs ISM Connect 300 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS). Larson and his Target team had a strong day contending in the top five throughout the 300-lap/317.4-mile event. The run marks his eighth runner-up finish of 2017 bringing his top-five total to 13 on the season. Larson is now assured, via points, advancement into the Round of 12 the second segment of this year’s championship Playoff battle.
“Obviously you want to win and second-place finishes do get frustrating because second is the first loser,” said Larson after a brutally hot race at NHMS. “But, second is also not bad; especially when you get to the Playoffs. Winning is very important, but also consistency is just as important. We got a fifth last week and a second today with even better Stage points, so that was pretty much the day that we needed for the Target Chevy. Obviously, a win would have been great, but second was just as good.”
After starting the weekend at NHMS off with a crash in the first practice session and having to pull out a back-up car, Chase Elliott and the No. 24 Kelley Blue Book team fought through much adversity to earn an 11th-place finish at the ‘Magic Mile’.
Chevrolet SS Playoff contenders, Ryan Newman, No. 31 Childress Vineyards Chevrolet SS, and Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS, finished 13th and 14th respectively giving Team Chevy four of the top-15 overall.
Other Chevrolet Playoff drivers ended the second race of the 10-race Playoff as follows: Jamie McMurray, No. 1 Cessna Chevrolet SS, 16th; Austin Dillon, No. 3 Chevrolet Accessories Chevy SS, 19th; and Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Road to Race Day Chevy SS, had a mechanical failure near the end of the ISM Connect 300 and was relegated to a 35th place finish.
Kyle Busch (Toyota) was the race winner, Matt Kenseth (Toyota) finished third, Brad Keselowski (Ford) was fourth and Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) rounded out the top-five in the fifth position.
Next week the series heads to the third race of the 10-race championship Playoffs, Dover International Speedway where 12 drivers will battle for the final eight positions in the Round of 12. All the action commences on Sunday October 1st at 2:00 pm.
POST RACE PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT AND ADDITIONAL QUOTES:
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – Finished 2nd
THE MODERATOR: We are joined by our second‑place finisher Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, my race was ‑‑ so lap 1, I went backwards in a hurry. But yeah, I think I was on the splitter to start there early, but we got that better, and yeah, I kind of ran around third to fifth all race long. I felt like I wasn’t great on short runs, but I was really good on long runs, which was kind of opposite of practice. I don’t know, I was kind of happy about that. Got a good restart there at the end, got to second, and kept my pace up with Kyle a little bit there, but he could just get pointed a little bit better than me and get the throttle down where I would spin my tires a little bit. Too loose there on the short run, but if we could have had a long run, maybe who knows. But he was fast, 78 was fast, Matt was really good, so I thought we were probably fourth best or so.
Good day, really good points today, stage points and a good finish. Should be fairly locked into the next round, which is positive.
Q. Kyle, you’re piecing together these good runs and points runs, but as you hopefully are through to ‑‑ most likely through to the next round, barring catastrophe, how important do you feel like it’s going to get a win?
KYLE LARSON: Well, I think if I can keep up these top‑5 runs and good stage finishes, I mean, you could probably point your way to them, but I would prefer to get a win in each of these rounds. If we can keep the good runs going, we should be all right.
Obviously, I think as you get into the later rounds, wins are even more important than they are now. We had good regular season points, gave ourselves some good playoff points. This first round I knew would be fairly easy, but I think as we get into the next round and then the third round, a win would be great.
JIMMIE JOHNSON, NO. 48 LOWE’S CHEVROLET SS – Finished 14th
YOU RAN WAY BETTER THAN 14TH. IT LOOKED LIKE YOU BASICALLY RACED FOR 5TH THE ENTIRE RACE UNTIL THE END THERE WHEN YOU FELL BACK. WHAT HAPPENED?
“Yeah, we had a lug nut pop off when they went to index the wheel, so it was a longer pit stop than we had hoped for and fell from fifth to 15th or something, and just kind of finished there. It’s frustrating for sure, but in the big picture we got some Stage points. Some of our competitors had trouble. We’ve definitely got to clean things up moving forward to advance through these rounds.”
WHAT ABOUT THE SPEED YOU SHOWED TODAY? IS THAT WHAT YOU NEEDED TO MAKE A LITTLE SPARK TO MAKE A RUN FOR ANOTHER CHAMPIONSHIP?
“It’s been a frustrating summer, obviously. I think maybe we’ve just been swinging too hard at times and making not ideal situations much worse. And the last three or four weeks, we just settled in and got what we could. Today we lost some points on the table, which isn’t’ fun, but the last couple of weeks I think we finished where we ran. And from there, we’ll start learning. I don’t think we’re going to learn huge chunks, but we’re directionally correct. These fast cars keep having trouble and I feel like maybe there are some opportunities if we’re sitting in the right position.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY, NO. 1 CESSNA CHEVROLET SS – Finished 16th
MANY TIMES, YOU WERE IN THE TOP 10, BUT THINGS GOT CRAZY AT THE END AND YOU PITTED FOR FOUR TIRES. WERE YOU JUST NOT ABLE TO MAKE-UP THE TRACK POSITION?
“Well, we had a bad pit stop and that got us behind. And then on that restart, the No. 14 (Clint Bowyer) got into me and we ran like a lap. Made another restart and the No. 48 (Jimmie Johnson) got into me. And then we didn’t want to pit, because the tires were fine, it’s just that the quarter panel was rubbing on the tire. We had to pit. And, it’s just so hard to pass here. We went back to whatever the last current lead lap was and passed like two cars in the next 20 laps and that was our day.”
WHAT POSITIVES CAN YOU TAKE FROM TODAY? WHAT’S THE CONFIDENCE LEVEL?
“Well we ran really well today. It’s just really hard to pass here. But our cars have been, honestly, we’ve been like a sixth to 12th place car every week, and that’s what we ran again today. We weren’t able to finish as well as we ran earlier in the race, but it happens sometimes.”
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