NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
PURE MICHIGAN 400
MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
AUGUST 15, 2014
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed his opportunity to make this year’s Chase for the Sprint Cup, the new rule policy NASCAR announced this morning and many other topics. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT RACING HERE THIS WEEKEND AT MICHIGAN:
“I enjoy Michigan it’s a 2-mile race track. It seems like I like the 1.5-mile to 2-mile tracks the best. It’s where I run the best. I have three good finishes here. Got close to winning a Nationwide race last year and possibly could have had a Cup win earlier this year if I didn’t speed on pit road. Excited about this weekend I think we will have a good Target Chevy. I’m excited to get on the track I think we learned a lot last time we were here. We have learned even more throughout the races since then. I think we should have a good run, just have to put it all together. Shoot for a win, but then also can’t do anything too out of the ordinary to hurt our finish because we have to gain a lot of points still to try and make the Chase if we don’t have a win.”
NASCAR JUST ANNOUNCED THE FORMALIZATION OF THE POLICY FOR DRIVERS AND CAUTIONS AND THE CARS WHEN AN INCIDENT HAPPENS. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION?
“It’s basically still the same rules we have had. I think just kind of reminding us and maybe going to be stricter with it. Where we have to stay in the car until the safety workers get to us. Then stay in line under cautions and things like that, which is basically what we do now I just think they are just reminding us. If you are on fire or something you obviously have to get out. It’s good that they are reinforcing it and like I said reminding us again.”
WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN TONY STEWART WOULD SHOW UP AND WHAT TYPE OF DRIVER IS HE IN SPRINT CARS MAYBE COMPARED TO CUP?
“Tony (Stewart) is a tough competitor so he races hard in a stock car, a sprint car and a midget, street car whatever. Before I got to NASCAR racing with Tony Stewart was awesome. You would see his trailer pull in the track and you would get more amped up and try a little bit harder. He does a lot for the sport. When he goes to sprint car races it’s his place to get away and relax a little bit. Like I said, I always enjoyed when he would come to the race track and still enjoyed seeing him whenever he would venture out and go back.”
YOU HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND KNOWLEDGE OF SPRINT CAR RACING, HAVING DRIVEN AND KNOWING THE NUANCES OF THE SPORT. WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO LAST SATURDAY’S INCIDENT? HAVE YOU SEEN THE VIDEO? HAVE YOU WATCHED IT? DO YOU HAVE ANY OPINION AFTER BEING BEHIND THE WHEEL OF ONE OF THOSE THINGS?
“First off just thoughts and prayers still with everybody involved especially the Ward family. I have never raced there so I don’t really have an opinion on much of anything because you don’t know how the lighting is there. It’s just really tough to have an opinion on it when you weren’t part of it. Really there is only one guy that knows what happened or two and one is not here anymore. It’s kind of hard for any of us to have an opinion on it when we don’t 100 percent know what was going on.”
YOU HEAD TO BRISTOL NEXT WEEK. YOU HAVE TWO STRAIGHT TRACKS YOU ARE REALLY GOOD AT AND BRISTOL SUITS YOUR DRIVING STYLE AS WELL. TALK ABOUT HEADING TO BRISTOL NEXT WEEK AND YOUR CHANCES THERE:
“I like Bristol a lot. I think because it’s high-banked, fast, momentum, it suits my driving style pretty well. In Nationwide we have always run well there. I think I’ve gotten a top-five every time I’ve ran there in a Nationwide car. I think we were 10th or 11th there in the Cup car. Looking forward to getting there I think these next four tracks before the Chase starts is a good string of tracks for me. Excited about that, just got to put the whole race weekend together every track we go to.”
YOU HAVE BEEN IN CONTENTION IN SO MANY RACES. WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET OVER THE HUMP AND GET IN THE CHASE? WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE TO GET THAT WIN AND GET IN THE CHASE YOUR ROOKIE YEAR IN SPRINT CUP SERIES COMPETITION?
“Just make fewer mistakes. I feel like as a rookie I still make some mistakes out there. As you can see on pit road I’ve sped a lot, which is weird because I never sped at all last year. Then just there are lots of little things that could help our chances of winning races. We have to put a whole race weekend together, a whole race together, limit our mistakes and hopefully get a win. I think I’m pretty aggressive on restarts and seems like I gain spots on restarts and stuff, just got to get better at everything and I’m sure the wins will come.”
WHERE DO YOU FEEL LIKE GANASSI STACKS UP RIGHT NOW? IT LOOKS LIKE YOU GUYS ARE KIND OF KEEPING PACE. DO YOU FEEL LIKE OVERALL YOU GUYS ARE KEEPING PACE WITH THE TOP TEAMS RIGHT NOW?
“I think so. I feel like we actually have maybe getting better than or quicker than what they have. We got a pole and we’ve been running in the top-10 every week for a couple of months now. I feel like aside from those three bad runs we had, which was bad luck I think, we had top tens before that too. Like I said every team is getting better. I don’t know if we a building new cars or what. I’m not really too involved in that kind of stuff. It seems like our stuff is getting better. We come back to these tracks for a second time I feel like we are faster. We unload better. We always unloaded pretty good, but I feel like we unload even closer now. That makes your weekends easier. I’m sure we will get even better as we go. I know we are going to be doing some more testing here and hopefully can learn from the tracks up coming.”
WHEN YOU SAY BETTER THAN THEN DO YOU MEAN HENDRICK?
“I just think everybody is getting better I just think we are closing the gap a little bit more now.”
ARE YOU PLANNING ON EVER GOING BACK AND RACING PART TIME AT SHORT LOCAL TRACKS? WHEN YOU WERE RACING SPRINT CARS DID YOU THINK ABOUT THE SAFETY AT SHORT TRACKS LIKE WEARING HEAD AND NECK RESTRAINT DEVICES?
“I don’t think that had any issue on what happened this past weekend. I would like to go race sprint cars still. I love racing those types of cars and wish I could do more of it this year, but I’ve been really busy. Maybe during the off season or something or next year we can get a handful of races, but I enjoy doing it. Hopefully I can do it the rest of my laugh.”
NO MATTER HOW YOU VIEW THE TRAGEDY LAST SATURDAY IT’S OBVIOUS THAT THERE WERE DRIVER EMOTIONS INVOLVED. HAVE YOU EVER HAD A POINT THAT WHERE THE EMOTIONS HAVE GOTTEN THE BETTER OF YOU?
“I’m sure. I’m sure every one of us has done or had a least one time in our careers where we have done something on the race track or when we get out of the car we look back and think we should have thought twice about it. I don’t know I think a lot of people now are going to learn after seeing that video or hearing about what happened I think we are all going to think twice. If we are upset with somebody we are going to think about it before we get out of the car. Just really sucks it all happened.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON CHASE ELLIOTT AND RYAN BLANEY AS DRIVERS:
“I think Chase and Ryan both are amazing. I thought I had a pretty good year in Nationwide last year and Chase has blown that out of the water. I definitely think they could hang in the Cup Series for sure. They do a lot of testing already in Cup cars and stuff. So it wouldn’t be anything out of the ordinary when they get into a Cup car. Just different race situations left to learns. They obviously learn really quickly especially Chase. Ryan I think he’s leading the points in the Truck Series too. It’s neat that Ryan got that opportunity for next year. I think he’s going to do a great job and I’m sure we will see Chase moving up here sometime shortly.”
WHAT IS YOUR REACTION TO THE WAY SPRINT CAR RACING HAS BEEN PORTRAYED? FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE NEVER DONE IT WHICH THE VAST MAJORITY OF EARTH WHAT ARE THE NUANCES AND THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE WAY THOSE CARS OPERATE VERSUS YOUR STREET CAR?
“Sprint car racing is awesome. It’s some of the best racing you will ever see in your life. Over the last couple of years I just, with all the stuff that has gone on, sprint car racing has gotten a bad rap. I just wish ESPN and stuff could go play highlights of the Knoxville Nationals that just happened this weekend and see how good the racing was there and how it is ever weekend. They race three, four times a week and the racing is great. I just wish rather than it being where everybody talks about how dangerous it is and you are stupid if you run them and stuff I just wish you could see the good parts of it.
“I don’t know as far as they way the driver compared to anything else I mean it’s a race car. It’s got a lot of power. You hear a lot of people talk about the vision and all of that. I don’t know it’s tough, but I don’t know it’s hard to explain really how different it is compared to a stock car even. It’s still a race car they drive similar, but I don’t know I just feel bad for sprint car racing because it’s what we all love. Myself, Tony (Stewart), Kasey (Kahne), Ricky (Stenhouse, Jr.), (JJ) Yeley, all of us love sprint car racing. It just sucks that it is getting the recognition that it has been getting. It’s just the bad stuff and not the good stuff.”
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN INVOLVED IN AN ON-TRACK CONFRONTATION WHERE ANOTHER DRIVER GETS OUT OF HIS CAR AND CONFRONTS YOU?
“Yeah, I’m sure we all have. Usually though I wreck somebody and they go upside down and it’s a red flag so all the cars are stopped. And they will come yell at you. I’m too small to go out and try and get in somebody else’s face. I already knew that going into it (laughs). We have all gotten frustrated. Every one of us has gotten frustrated and gotten mad at somebody it is just the way people handle it is different.”
IS IT UNUSUAL DURING SPRINT CAR RACES FOR A DRIVER THAT IS ANGRY TO GET OUT OF THE CAR AND ACTUALLY WALK ON THE TRACK THE WAY KEVIN (WARD, JR.) DID EVEN WHEN DRIVERS ARE UPSET AT EACH OTHER?
“You see it in NASCAR races, you see it in sprint car races, you see it in street stock races, wherever people get mad they get out and point their finger. Tell the driver they are number one. But it’s just I don’t know I wish, like I said people are going to think twice about it now after that deal last week. I don’t think you will see – I’m sure you will still see people get out and point and stuff, but I’m sure they won’t venture too much away from their own race car from now on.”