MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 16, 2018
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 DC SOLAR CAMARO ZL1, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed his win at Auto Club Speedway in 2017, his thoughts on competing at the grassroots level and many other topics. Full Transcript:
WHAT ARE YOUR KEYS TO SUCCESS HERE AT THIS TRACK?
“Having a fast racecar is probably the most important key to any race, but we were lucky enough to have a really fast car last year at a lot of tracks, but especially here. I felt like when we got to this race, throughout practice, I felt like I had the car to win. It felt like that was the best Cup car I had ever had to that point. Was able to capitalize on it and get the win. I really enjoy this racetrack. It’s got a lot of different lanes to choose from. You have a lot of tire fall off. It’s just kind of a track that suits my driving style quite a bit. I think that is why we have had a little bit of success here with a couple of Xfinity wins and the Cup win last year. We are just running the Cup car this weekend, but we should be good.”
DOES WHAT (KEVIN) HARVICK IS DOING IMPACT WHAT YOU ARE DOING? DO YOU LOOK AT HIM AS SOMEONE THAT NEEDS TO BE STOPPED OR AS JUST ANOTHER DRIVER?
“It’s just another driver really. It’s cool to see what their race team is doing right now. He is making it look really easy because it’s not at all easy to win a Cup race. So, in that aspect it’s really cool to see what he is doing. I don’t feel like our team is too far off of getting a little bit better to compete with them. I’m sure there are a lot of other race teams that are like that. The No. 78 (Martin Truex, Jr.) he will probably hit his stride here soon and people may forget what (Kevin) Harvick did early in the year, because that is kind of the dominance they had last year with the No. 78. And then you know, us, hopefully we can get a little bit better and contend, but we just have to keep doing what we are doing and try and execute the races well and not make any mistakes and hopefully we can be running up front at the end. Have a good restart or something, good final pit stop and kind of steal a win. That is how a lot of these Cup wins come, but yeah, Harvick has been extremely dominant, but I don’t think we are too far off of that.”
IS THIS TRACK MORE SIMILAR TO ATLANTA THAN IT IS TO MICHIGAN?
“I don’t think it’s any similar to either track. Atlanta is still way more worn out than this place is. And then, this place is still more worn out than Michigan. It doesn’t … like I don’t know I guess you drive this track differently than you do each of those two. So, I don’t know I would say it’s in the middle of those. It doesn’t really compare at all.”
IT’S A TOTAL OUTLIER?
“Yeah, it doesn’t simulate to either track.”
ARE YOU IN SUPPORT OF SHOW FEES/APPEARANCE MONEY TO DROP DOWN AND DO GRASSROOTS RACING?
“So, the way I operate is I don’t ask for any show-up money. I love to race, whenever I go run sprint car stuff and I feel like I’m doing my part to help grow the sport. So, I don’t ever ask for any show-up money. I know there are other drivers that won’t go unless they get show-up money, but I’ve never once reached out to a track promoter or anything like that asking for show-up money. I think there has been one time where a track has come to me for show-up money. So, I mean, I’m not going to turn that down, but yeah, I think it’s been really cool to see (Kevin) Harvick and his passion for grassroots racing kind of show up even more this week. Because I’m a big proponent of grassroots racing as well and he is from the pavement side of things and I’m obviously from the dirt track, sprint car, midget side of things. So, for sure, I feel like we need to grow the grassroots and I think it will help NASCAR again. But, yeah, it’s been really cool to see that movement this week.”
HOW HAS YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH CHIP (GANASSI) CHANGED SINCE YOU SIGNED ON WITH HIM?
“I don’t know. I guess all of what I expected, maybe. I don’t know, I don’t really remember what I expected when I met him in 2011, the end of ’11. He has just been a good car owner for me. He puts just enough pressure on you to make you go out there and perform and do the obvious things right, as he likes to say. Jamie (McMurray) and Chip, they talk on the phone a lot more than Chip and I do. Which, I like it that way. My phone calls last for about… I bet I could go back and look at all my phone calls with Chip and they probably last anywhere from a minute to two minutes. He is very quick with our conversations and I think that is cool. He is a very unique person and different than any other person I’ve ever met in my life and I enjoy being around him. I’m pretty comfortable around him, I can joke with him and he can joke with me. I feel like we get along great. I love racing for Chip and like you said, he doesn’t have any other, maybe he has investments and stuff that I don’t know about, but racing is kind of his number one things and I think that is what separates him from a lot of the other owners.”
TALK ABOUT BEING INDUCTED INTO THE AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY WALK OF FAME:
“Yeah, that was neat. I had no idea that they had done that at this racetrack until a couple of weeks ago and I didn’t know it was going to be like a big fan event. I thought it was just going to kind of be like a couple of media members and stuff like that over there and you step on some concrete or whatever. But, no, there were a lot of fans out there, which was really cool, a lot of my fans, which was nice. Getting awarded that and get my permanent mark on this racetrack and have Owen’s (Kyle’s son) little handprints there, which I think is funny too because I have my footprints and then his hands are right below it, I’m like people are going look at that and be like ‘man Kyle Larson has got really small hands’ (laughs). No, it was cool to do that and get the surfboard. You know the trophy that I won from this race last year is still the coolest trophy I’ve got in my collection and probably one of the coolest ones I will ever have in my collection. This race does a lot for their winner and it’s cool to see that.”