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TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
JULY 11, 2014
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and discussed his outlook for this weekend at New Hampshire, recent testing at the track, his Chase hopes and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT YOUR OUTLOOK FOR THIS WEEKEND:
“I always kind of like coming to New Hampshire. It’s a pretty neat race track. It’s the only one on the circuit quite like this. It reminds me a little bit of IRP (Indianapolis Raceway Park) in Indiana. I enjoy it. We got to come here and test a few weeks ago and I thought that went pretty well. We learned a lot of stuff. Then we learned even some things at Richmond the other day that I think might help us here too. Excited to get on the track for practice and hoping for good things this weekend because we have had some bad luck the last three weeks. We’ve got to get back to finishing races and get back up in the points because now we have fallen out of being in the Chase.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT TESTING:
“It went pretty good. We were here with the Hendrick (Motorsports) cars and I thought they were a little bit better than us, but at the midway point of the test I thought we were pretty good. We just kept testing different things and slowed down a little bit. The conditions that day were a lot cooler than what they will be this weekend. It’s hard to judge off that, but I thought it was a decent test. Anytime you test you are learning a lot. It was good to get here to New Hampshire a place where I haven’t raced a Cup car yet and get some laps.”
THERE WERE FOUR TEAMS THAT TESTED, ALL TEAMS THAT ARE LOOKING TO GET DRIVERS IN THE CHASE. DO YOU THINK THE STRATEGY WAS IF YOU TEST MAYBE THIS IS A PLACE YOU OR JAMIE (MCMURRAY) COULD GET THAT COULD GET YOU IN THE CHASE?
“I don’t know. I don’t know if they struggled here last year is why they came or what. I don’t seem to do particularly well on short tracks or tracks you have to use a lot of braking. That might be a reason we came here. I don’t know if there is any strategy for the Chase to come here and test or not.”
YOU GUYS DIDN’T REALLY DISCUSS THAT? I MEAN YOU ONLY GET FOUR TESTS…
“I’m sure when you only get four any test they use is to get yourself in a better position for the Chase. I would say so.”
DO YOU FEEL BETTER COMING HERE AFTER THE TEST? DOES THAT GIVE YOU SOME CONFIDENCE NOW THINKING MAYBE YOU COULD BE A FACTOR ON SUNDAY?
“Yeah I think so. I feel like anytime we’ve gone to a track to test we usually race pretty good. At Pocono we went there and tested and ran fifth. I’m not quite sure where else we tested. You look at last year they tested at Dover and almost won that. Anytime you go to test somewhere you gain some confidence going back because you know your car is going to be better than had you not spent 300 laps on the track already. I know the team loves testing because they get to learn as much as they can and it always helps them at other race track too. Like I said I think we learned a lot at Richmond probably that will help us here too. I’m definitely excited because I think our car will be pretty fast.”
WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION AS WE APPROACH KIND OF THE CRUNCH TIME IN RELATION TO THE CHASE OF WHERE YOU STAND AND WHAT YOUR CHANCES ARE IN THESE FINAL RACES LEADING UP TO THE CUT OFF?
“Our chances were really good up until three weeks ago. Then we lost power steering at Sonoma and finished in the high 20’s. Kentucky we were pretty fast and blew a right-front tire and then at Daytona we got caught up in a typical Daytona crash and got a 36th-place finish or something like that. I think we went from being tied for seventh to eighteenth in points over three weeks. It was looking great up until now. It makes you stress out a little bit just because each week it gets closer and closer to the Chase. Now we have fallen to where we have to fight really hard again. It makes it nerve racking, but we are all pretty close. I think there are six or so guys that are pretty close in points. I have to have a couple of good runs and hopefully get back up there. It would be nice to get a win soon for sure.”
YOU GOT OFF TO SUCH A STRONG START FOR A ROOKIE HOW HUMBLING HAS IT BEEN ALL OF A SUDDEN TO HAVE THESE THREE WEEKS IN A ROW?
“I knew at some point with how well we were running everybody is going to run into some bad luck. I was just hoping it wouldn’t be three weeks in a row worth of bad luck. I figured we may have some bad luck one week or two weeks in a row not three. It makes you stress out coming here to New Hampshire hoping that you get a good finish. You can’t have four bad finishes in a row. I mean I understand the whole luck factor so it was humbling, but didn’t surprise me.”
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE ROOKIE OF THE YEAR BATTLE BETWEEN YOU AND AUSTIN DILLON RIGHT NOW?
“I mean I feel like we have been a little bit stronger than Austin (Dillon) mostly so I think once we get back to finishing some races hopefully we can pad that gap between him and myself in the rookie points. I’m not really even sure how the whole rookie thing works. I don’t know if they base off points or votes or what.”
MEDIA INTERJECTS – A LITTLE OF BOTH:
“Yeah, so hopefully we have a big gap in points. But I mean it sucks the last few weeks I think he’s been the highest finishing rookie, but I feel like our stats have been a little bit better than his so far this season. Just got to keep sticking with it and trying to set it as a goal to beat him every weekend as well as get top 10’s.”
TALK ABOUT HOW YOU LIKE THE NEW QUALIFYING FORMAT CONSIDERING A TRACK LIKE THIS WHERE TRACK POSITION IS SO IMPORTANT:
“I like the new qualifying format. It’s not like there are a ton of cars out on the track, it’s not like all 43 of us are out on the track at the same time qualifying. We kind of all respect each other and maybe there are five or six cars out at a time and you are evenly spaced. You are not getting messed up by the guy in front of you. Where the qualifying format sucks is the superspeedways where you have to have a bunch of buddies or get lucky. I guess in the Cup Series nobody wants to be the lead pack because everybody is getting a draft off you. So like last week we saw where we roll around there at 20 mph that makes it really frustrating and probably not fun for the fans either. It would be nice if they could tweak the superspeedway qualifying format a little bit, but I’ve enjoyed it everywhere else.”
HOW DO YOU DO OR LIKE FLAT TRACKS LIKE THIS?
“I would say they are probably my biggest weakness. I feel like I’ve struggled at most flat tracks where you have to use a lot of braking. Phoenix, Martinsville, Richmond and here last year in the Nationwide Series it is definitely a style of track I’ve got to get better at. I’m sure that will come with time. It’s a lot different than kind of the sort of style or racing I grew up doing. Nothing I ever did you were hard on the brakes almost coming to a stop and making a U-turn and going the other way. I think that is why I have struggled so far on flat tracks.”