NCS AT L.A. MEMORIAL COLISEUM: Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson Press Conference Transcript

FEBRUARY 4, 2023

KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1, and CHASE ELLIOTT, NO. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS CAMARO ZL1, met with the media in advance of the NASCAR Cup Series practice and qualifying session at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Press Conference Transcript:

Q: With the backdrop here, looking as strong as it did last year and coming back a second year, how important is it for this event to be back a second consecutive, and with everything you’ve learned over the past year with this car?

Kyle Larson: “I think this is a great location for a race. It’s good to introduce our sport to [fans], and hopefully get some fans out of it. I thought last year’s event was amazing. I thought NASCAR and everybody did a great job pulling it off. The show aspect of it, too, was really good. Glad to have it back again for a second year. There’s a lot of things I’m sure NASCAR could learn from and apply to this year. I’m excited to get on track in a little bit and see a good show.”

Q: With stage breaks being eliminated, races will stay green at road courses, what are your reactions for later in the year?

Chase Elliott: “I would say I don’t have a problem with that. I feel like the strategy of the race is already pretty much done based on when the stage breaks were. We’ll have to kind of see. I haven’t really looked at what it’s kind of going to look like when you have to stop and things. I know that the stages really dictate a lot of the strategy. I don’t think it will be bad.”

Q: How important is it going into this season to have that strong start, build momentum, and start strong?

Larson: “I think it’s always important to start the year off strong. There’s been years where I’ve struggled the first year, and kind of like you’re digging yourself out of a hole from the very beginning. Although it’s a long season, it’s definitely important to get off to a good start and shape the scope of your season and how you prepare for each race, and how you call each race. The goal is to win every race, but early in the year, you want to finish to get off on the right foot.”

Q: At the Cup level, the concept of sending people home and having guys not make the show for a race like this is still kind of new. What do you guys think of that? Could that be something that sticks around in other races at some point? Not every week, but, you know, for, for certain occasions.”

Elliott: “I think it’s a good thing. I don’t see where it hurts anything at all. I’m fine with that, and I feel like, like Kyle {Larson] said, I thought the event last year was good and he ended up figuring it out itself out at the end, and I feel like most of the time it’s going to do that.”

Larson: “I come from the land of B-Mains and stuff where people will miss the show. It makes those consolation races really intense, and as we saw last year, I think it adds a storyline. Even though it’s not nearly as intense as at Daytona, you see it every year in the Duels, and that’s really the coolest part about the Duels.. seeing those guys race and follow their pit strategy and pits stops. And if they keep up with the draft, it makes the Daytona 500 for those teams, and any team really, mean more and much more special to make it. You had to earn your way in. When you’re getting rid of cars, you see your fields big. That shows the sport is healthy. I think it’s good. And if we introduce those car counts where we send someone home every week, I think it’s something exciting.”

Q: You won at Auto Club last year. What are your thoughts about the track being converted and also off the schedule for a year, maybe two years, before it returns after being converted to a short track?

Larson: “It’s definitely a long process for them to reconfigure not only the track but a lot of the facilities. It’s pretty intense. I know with California and all the codes that you have to go through, it’s probably hard to have everything stay on schedule. I don’t know exactly the extent of what they’re doing with the track and how big it’s going be, the shape and banking and all that. I love the two-mile track. But I think the more shift tracks we can have, the better off our sports going to be. It’s neat that they’re investing that money to try and grow the growth racing in California, but also help NASCAR.”

Q: For so many years, you’ve been around long enough. The debate is: how much is the driver? How much is the car for? You guys often say, probably like 80-90% of the car with this new car. How much more is does the driver have control of things? How much more is the driver playing a factor. Are you sensing or getting a feel of having more of input than when maybe when you first came in or early years with, with that crop?

Elliott: “That’s a really tough debate. I’m not sure you’ve ever heard me say those exact numbers, but, nonetheless, I think everyone has to have something good to drive no matter how good or bad of a race car driver you are. You can be in a really good car and not necessarily be putting yourself in positions to have as much success as you need to be doing too. I think you still have to have a horse to ride my opinion.”

Q: With both of you being really successful in road courses in the past, what were your thoughts on elimination of stage breaks and how much of the difference is it going to make when you go there?

Larson: “I think it’s good. I always thought it was odd in a road course that you would pit early before a stage. That’s just not like racing to me. Being able to race from start to finish is good. I honestly haven’t even followed along with the rules updates. I don’t know the exact rules or whatnot, but I think that’s been something teams and drivers have been trying to get NASCAR to do the last few years. It’s nice that they listen, and I think it’s going to be better overall for the race.”

Q: Who is the G.O.A.T. [greatest of all time] in NASCAR?

Larson: “I think my goat would be Jimmie [Johnson]. I guess the way I look at it, and I’m probably biased because I got to compete with him, but just the quality of competition and car. His era was, in my opinion, much more difficult. That’s why he would be. Anyone goes five in a row, that’s crazy.”

Elliott: “I would agree. And I was going to mention the five in a row. I know the seven he’s talked about a lot, but that five in a row thing doesn’t get talked about enough, in my opinion. I know the format was different, but it makes it a little more possible to do. But still, that’s a tall order. That’s pretty impressive.”

About Chevrolet
Founded in 1911 in Detroit, Chevrolet is now one of the world’s largest car brands, available in 79 countries with more than 3.2 million cars and trucks sold in 2020. Chevrolet models include electric and fuel-efficient vehicles that feature engaging performance, design that makes the heart beat, passive and active safety features and easy-to-use technology, all at a value. More information on Chevrolet models can be found at

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