NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
FEBRUARY 21, 2014
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Daytona International Speedway and discussed his outlook for this Sunday’s Daytona 500, his rapid ascent into the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, his relationship with teammate Jamie McMurray and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND:
“It’s going to be a lot of fun come Sunday. I feel like I learned a ton last night in the second duel. I was able to make a few moves, most that didn’t work so I learned from that. Sunday is going to take a lot of patience’s to log some laps there for the first half of the race, then to try to position yourself good for the end of it. We got a little front-end damage yesterday in that wreck. My Target guys made some repairs on that stuff. I’m sure it will be fine come Sunday. Just really looking forward to it and hope to get a good finish.”
WITH JUST THE ONE YEAR OF NATIONWIDE AND NOT A TON OF TIME RUNNING WITH A LOT OF GUYS IN THIS SERIES ARE YOU FINDING THAT PEOPLE ARE COMFORTABLE WORKING WITH YOU ON THE TRACK?
“I think it’s tough for any veteran to trust a rookie like me, especially on a superspeedway. I saw it a little bit last night where people would bail on me, which I understand. You just have to try and be as smooth as you can and earn their trust. That is kind of what I tried doing last night. I felt like I kept it in a straight line most of the time. There was once where I got a little squirley, but for the most part I haven’t had any run in’s with any of the veterans yet. I think that is good that I haven’t done that and hopefully they will work with me come Sunday.”
EVEN THOUGH YOU HAVE BEEN RACING FOR THE MAJORITY OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU EVER WONDER OR HAVE THE FEELING THAT MAYBE YOU DID RUSH THIS STEP A LITTLE BIT?
“No, not really because everything I’ve done in my career even from the times I was racing go-karts everybody thought it might have been a rush at the time. But then it all worked out and did really well. I think and I’m hoping this isn’t anything different. I’m ready for this season. I think we are going to have a strong year. The guys at Chip Ganassi Racing have built really fast cars. They have changed some things on the pit crew, more engineers and stuff like that. I think it’s going to be good for me. We have done a lot of testing where not only have we been working on the cars we’ve also been working on stuff with me. By doing fuel mileage things, pit stops and stuff like that. So it’s going to benefit me come race season. I think they have done a great job with me. I think we are prepared and hopefully we can get the Rookie of the Year and have a lot of good finishes this year.”
JAMIE MCMURRAY YOUR TEAMMATE IS CONSIDERED A PRETTY GOOD RESTRICTOR PLATE RACER. HAVE YOU TALKED TO HIM ABOUT MAYBE A PLAN FOR SUNDAY? HAS HE GIVEN YOU ANY ADVICE?
“Jamie is definitely one of the best plate racers I think right now. I have definitely leaned on him quite a bit, with just little questions and stuff. He actually said ‘don’t feel the need to help me out all the time because a lot of times it doesn’t work out and we both go backwards.’ When it comes down to the end of the race I’m sure we will work together or try to if we are around each other. He really just told me you have to be patient like everybody knows and pick and choose your right moves at the right times and try to go forward.”
IN GENERAL WHAT HAS JAMIE MCMURRAY BEEN LIKE FOR YOU? HOW HAS HE KIND OF CLEARING THE PATH FOR YOU IN YOUR ROOKIE YEAR?
“It’s been good working with Jamie so far. He’s probably the easiest guy to talk to in the garage or really out of anybody I’ve ever met. He’s extremely personable. Especially when it comes to the plate races, Daytona being the first race of the season it’s easy to go to him with a lot of questions. I’ve definitely been talking to him as much as I can whenever I have questions. He is always willing to give me a truthful honest answer. I think that is good for me. There will be times too this year where I’m sure he will have questions for me. If I’m faster than him in the weekend, I think we are going to work really well together and it’s going to be great for the both of us and great for the team.”
YOU ALWAYS SEEM VERY CALM. DO YOU EVERY GET NERVOUS? DO YOU EVER GET SCARED? DO YOU EVER GET INTIMIDATED?
“No, I mean probably the only time I get nervous is during single car qualifying and we don’t have any of that anymore. That will be good. I don’t think I ever get intimidated. Early in different series and stuff I go back to running with the World of Outlaws when I was 15 or whatever. You line up next to guys like Sammy Swindell and Steve Kinser and you are like ‘wow this is pretty crazy’ and you can let them get under your skin pretty easy. But then after you realize you are just as good as they are if not better than them some nights it builds your confidence and stuff. Then you start beating them. I’m sure I will experience a little bit of that this year. Hopefully not too much and it should be fine.”
WILL YOU HAVE THAT ‘WOW’ MOMENT WHEN YOU LINE-UP NEXT TO JEFF GORDON?
“No, probably not. I don’t think so. I guess if you count last night this will be my sixth Cup race now. I think the ‘wow’s’ are done.”
YOU DIDN’T THE FIRST TIME YOU RACED AGAINST HIM?
“No when I ran Charlotte I didn’t get that way. I wasn’t more so ‘wow’ I’m lined up next to so and so, because I had raced with them a lot in the Nationwide Series, but the biggest thing I was excited about then was just that I’m here and in the Cup Series. That was the biggest ‘wow’ moment for me then.”
WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHANGE FOR YOU?
“The biggest change for me so far, I mean there are a lot of big changes, but the one that sticks out to me the most is that all the racing I’ve done kind of growing up has been business, but has been relaxing as well. So has this, but this is extremely, everybody on the team is extremely focused and professional. It just seems to be really like a business more than anything. That has been the biggest thing. Once I get used to it, it’s all going to come easier. It will be different and be back to feeling normal I think after I get used to things.”
DID YOU FIND ANYTHING AT ALL FROM COMPETING IN THE ROLEX 24 HOUR THAT WILL HELP YOU IN ANYWAY DURING THIS WEEK?
“Nothing they are really different race cars and I mean you are out there with different types of cars that are going 40 to 50 miles per hour slower than you. You really can’t take anything from that race to help you for this one other than maybe just patience. That would probably be the biggest thing from that.”
TALK ABOUT YOUR PARTICIPATING IN THIS MORNING’S FISHING TOURNAMENT:
“Yeah that was a lot of fun. I enjoy fishing I just don’t go do it very often at all really. The only time I do it or have done it was when I was living in Indiana a little bit. Everybody has got a pond behind their house and we would fish in that. This was a little bit different. We didn’t catch very many fish, but still had a good time and it was for a good cause too. Hopefully I can do it every year and get better at it.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES