Chevy Racing–NASCAR–Richmond–Kyle Larson

SEPTEMBER 15, 2016

KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Chase Media day and discussed making his first Chase, his outlook for the playoffs and many other topics. Full Transcript:

“No, everybody’s saying I’m lucky that I didn’t make the Chase years before because it’s a lot more calm with this whole thing. So I don’t know. It’s cool.”

It seems like historically in this Chase so far, to advance past the first round, if you avoid disaster, you have a pretty good shot. Does that change the way you approach the first round? Will you do anything differently?

“I don’t know. Yeah, you know, my goal throughout the whole Chase is just to run all the laps, not have anything happen, try to run in the top 12, especially this first round. If you can run in the top 12 each race this first round, I think you should be able to make it. Even maybe the second round. But then that third round gets really tough.

“So, yeah, my goal is just to kind of stay out of trouble, be aggressive, be smart, but make sure you run all the laps.”

What have you and Chad discussed as far as strategy long-term? Is it any different than what you set up for yourself?

“Yeah, I mean, we honestly haven’t talked. We’ve talked zero about it. I mean, to me, and I think to him, these are just races. I mean, I guess there’s a little more on the line. You really just go out there and race and try to do as good a job as you can, just like every other race.
So I’m sure there are probably little things we can talk about. But honestly, I mean, to me it doesn’t feel like much different.”

You’ve talked about how this Chase sets up well for you, mile-and-a-half racetracks, especially towards the end. Other guys have talked about you as the dark horse a little bit. Do you feel the pressure? Are you putting pressure on yourself at all thinking you have a good shot?

“I don’t see that as pressure or added pressure. I just get excited about these 10 races. You know, I’ve ran good at most all of them in the past. Especially 2014 we had a good run in the last 10 races. Even last year there were a couple where we did well at. I could have won Homestead last year had that caution not come out at the end.

“That adds confidence to our team and myself knowing that these are a great lineup of tracks. We just got to go out there, do our part, stay out of trouble, and hopefully it all takes care of itself.”


“I don’t know. NASCAR doesn’t seem like dirt racing to me.”

Each main you go through, the competition ratchets up.

“I guess. I’m racing those guys every race, so it doesn’t really feel like that to me. It feels like we’re running 10 main events. Yeah, it’s just a short, you know, points championship. I guess not points championship. It’s just a short season.”

How surreal has it been for you being a dirt racer from California, now you’re in the Chase your first year?

“Yeah, it’s been awesome. Honestly, I was just racing dirt. I mean, still race dirt. I was racing dirt full-time in 2011, pretty much ’12. I ran 15 stockcar races that year. So to come from that in 2013 to where I’m at now in ’16 has been crazy. ’13 to ’14 was a huge jump.

“It’s been a fun, fun ride. There’s been a lot of people that have helped me get to this point. I can’t thank all of them enough. There’s been so many people that have helped me come from just this small town, California kid, happy racing Sprint cars, to being a Sprint Cup Series driver going for a championship. It’s been fun.”

Do you care that apparently you would have made the Chase anyway on the points?

“I was wondering that.”

Does that matter to you; you still had a good enough season anyway that you would have made it in?

“Well, I’m sure if I didn’t get that win, though, at Michigan, like, Newman would have raced probably a little bit differently, maybe wouldn’t have put himself in that spot at Richmond to get wrecked. It could have gone either way. The butterfly effect of me winning.

“Yeah, I guess it’s cool to know that I would have made it in on points, but I’m happy I got that win. I think it’s always nice when you can say, I made the Chase off of a win, and not like, I pointed my way in, even though that’s tough to do. I haven’t done it.

“But, yeah, that’s good to know.”

What are you anticipating, what are you expecting on what it will be like these first few rounds after seeing it from the outside in the last couple years out?

“Yeah, the first round especially, you know, I feel like everybody races a little bit more cautiously. There’s a lot more give-and-take. But once you get past that first round, I think everybody picks up their aggression, all that.

“I just remember from my first year just being like, Wow, that guy just let me go and I wasn’t really close to him. Yeah, I think just everybody races a little bit more cautious that first round.”

With this being Tony Stewart’s last year, you having similar backgrounds, racing against him the last three years, is it harder racing him on Sundays or Chili Bowl on Saturday night?

“Well, I haven’t got to race with him. It’s been a few years since he raced with me at Chili Bowl because he does the track prep there.

“You know, I’m happy it’s the end of his NASCAR career because he’s going to do a lot for Sprint cars and midget racing. I’m excited about that. You know, he’s already done so much for all of racing. I’m going to be jealous probably actually of him racing Sprint cars every week. Yeah, he’s going to do a lot of good for our sport, still in NASCAR, but a lot in open-wheel racing. So I’m happy about that.”