MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
MONSTER ENERGY ALL-STAR RACE
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER POST QUALIFYING PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MAY 19, 2017
KYLE LARSON PILOTS CHEVY TO ALL-STAR POLE
Larson earns pole award in first All-Star Outing
CONCORD, N.C. (May 19, 2017) – Flawless execution earned Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS team the pole for Saturday night’s Monster Energy All Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Larson’s first career victory at Michigan International Speedway in August 2016 earned him a spot in the All-Star event lineup. Today’s lap of 143.839 mph was not the quickest combination of the three lap average and pit stop time, but mistakes by other competitors now places him in the pole position for the start of the million-dollar non-points event on Saturday night.
Larson was joined in the final round of knockout style qualifying by seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. The driver of the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS will start fourth in his quest to become a five-time All-Star race winner.
Other Team Chevy drivers already locked into tomorrow night’s All-Star race are, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., No. 88 Axalta Chevrolet SS, who will start sixth. Larson’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate, Jamie McMurray, No. 1 McDonald’s Chevrolet SS will take the green from the 10th starting spot. Chris Buescher, No. 37 Busch’s Beans Chevrolet SS, making his first All Star start will roll off 11th. Kasey Kahne, No. 5 Mountain Dew Chevy SS will start 13th and Ryan Newman, who spun during his qualifying attempt, but kept the No. 31 Caterpillar/Grainger Chevrolet SS out of the wall and completed his qualifying session will start 15th.
Tomorrow, four more drivers will be added to the 20-car All-Star field by virtue of All-Star stage wins and the fan vote. The Monster Energy All-Star race is scheduled to begin at approximately 8 p.m. ET and will air on FoxSports1, MRN and Sirius XM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS – POLE SITTER
ON DOING THE FULL SPEED PIT STOPS:
“It’s pretty intense for sure. It’s not as crazy intense as I thought it would be, but so much fun to get to come down pit road as fast as you can there. My goal going into it was just to not make any mistakes and you know we would end up in the top eight. The first round, I definitely under drove coming into the pit stall. I was loose in (Turns) 3 and 4, so my lap was a little slow, but then my pit crew made up some time for us and allowed us to barely make it into the final round there. I knew what I could do to go better and picked up a little speed on my initial lap. Came down pit road a lot harder, still over slowed probably a little bit to my pit stall, but made it to it which was good, I didn’t slide through it. Our pit stop was even better than last round. Then leaving, my engine stumbled some and probably cost me a few tenths on the last lap there. Just again, tried not to make any mistakes and I knew everybody would try and push a little harder that last round, so I figured a couple of them would slide through their stalls and mess up. I just wanted to be mistake free and gain a couple more positions. Obviously, we caught a huge break with Kurt (Busch) penalties or whatever it was to get on the pole. My first attempt at it. It’s pretty cool. I had fun.”
YOU ALMOST DIDN’T MAKE IT TO THE FINAL ROUND. HOW WERE YOU FEELING AT THAT POINT?
“When I was only like fourth after I got done after the seven cars or whatever that had went out, I was like there is no way that I could make it. I feel back to fifth and it seemed like people kept making mistakes and all that. I was really nervous about Matt (Kenseth) and Joey (Logano) there at the end and they both slide through their stalls, so that was a big gift to me. I was looking at the monitor there before the final round and I was slowest of the five on like everything but the pit stop, so I was really happy with my pit crew because they saved me in making it to that final round there. They were the fastest that last time too. Hats off to them. They have been quickest the first quarter of the year, which is a neat deal. I think they are getting awarded for that, maybe tomorrow night. So, yeah, the pit crew has been amazing this year as well as everything. Our car has been good. Everybody at the shop has been working hard, so it’s paying off every time we hit the track even for events like this.”
WAS THERE ANYONE ELSE’S ATTEMPT THAT YOU WATCHED THAT YOU LEARNED FORM THAT HELPED YOU IN YOUR FINAL ROUND?
“It’s hard to learn off of that where they are braking and stuff because I don’t know it’s just hard for me to see where they are braking and how much brake pressure they are all using and stuff like that. I just knew what I had to do to go faster for me. I’m sure I could see some data from other drivers and probably pick up some more time, but yeah, I don’t know I had never done it before, so I was just trying to learn. So, in practice we got to practice it, but the track is slow, the tires are junk there are cars stopping in stalls in front of you, so you can’t really learn a whole lot. So, I honestly felt like qualifying was my first attempt at really doing it even though I got to practice it. In practice, it just more pisses you off than anything because the car drives like crap. Yeah, it was fun when the track had grip and the sun was going down.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE TIRES?
“Well, I mean I think you have to run the tire at some point throughout the race. I was happy in practice that it did seem to have three to four tenths of speed in it. It definitely felt like it had more grip for a few laps and then I think at night time I think it’s going to be even better. I don’t know, but I think that the option tire will be more impactful when the sun goes down. We’ve just got to wait and see. Qualifying well should hopefully help. If we can finish up front, help our average to come in on pit road with one of the first couple of people and I don’t know when we will use it. I don’t know if you use it the final round or the second to last round or whatever round, but it’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be a lot of fun to see how teams and all them handle it.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO PUT THE NO. 42 IN VICTORY LANE ON THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY OF “ONE HOT NIGHT” WHERE THE NO. 42 WAS INVOLVED IN A FAMOUS LAST-LAP CRASH IN THIS EVENT:
“I will be 25 in a couple of months, I was born for Kyle Petty’s man, no, I mean it would be cool to get the No. 42 in Victory Lane every week. I don’t think it completes the circle, but I just think it would be cool to get to victory lane here for a big race. We were close last year. Joey (Logano) was able to get by me late and yeah that was a heartbreaker, but hopefully we can get some revenge tomorrow night.”