MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
INDIANAPOLIS MOTOR SPEEDWAY
BIG MACHINE VODKA 400 AT THE BRICKYARD
TEAM CHEVY PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
SEPTEMBER 7, 2019
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 MCDONALD’S CAMARO ZL1 Media Breakout Session Highlights:
HOW DO YOU LOOK AT THE CUTOFF, THE PLAYOFFS AND HOW YOUR FOCUS WILL CHANGE? YOU RACE ALL THE TIME SO YOU’RE PROBABLY ALWAYS FOCUSED?
“Yeah, that’s good for me. I race a lot so I’m always focused on racing and the next race. It was cool to get locked into the playoffs last week. It wasn’t too long ago that I was right on the cutoff, so it shows how good a last month and a half we’ve had to gain as many points as we have. We’ve been running well and I’m looking forward to the playoffs starting. I feel like we’re at a good point with our race team, our momentum and how we’ve been doing. I’m ready to get through tomorrow’s race and on into the playoffs.”
ONE OF THE BIG TOPICS HERE LAST YEAR WAS CULTIVATING NEW NASCAR FANS. HOW DO YOU THINK THAT’S GOING AND CAN YOU FEEL THE FANBASE GROWING?
“I think so. It seems like there’s been a push into the grassroots stuff to get those fans who maybe haven’t tuned in for awhile and get them back interested in the sport. I know when I go to the dirt races and run that I have fans every single night who say I’m the reason why they’re tuning back into NASCAR. So that makes me feel special and feel like we’re doing a decent job of trying to grow the sport. It’s not just myself but the other competitors and series. You look at Darlington and it was sold out; Bristol looked a lot better than it has in the past couple years. It’s getting better. A lot of these tracks have so many seats that it’s hard to make them look full.”
A LOT OF YOUR FANDOM COMES FROM PLACES LIKE THAT AND DIRT TRACKS, BUT YOU’RE VERY GOOD HERE AT A PLACE THAT COULDN’T BE MORE OPPOSITE. WHY HAVE YOU TAKEN TO THIS PLACE?
“I think it comes down to your car being good everywhere. Chip (Ganassi) cars have always ran really well here at Indy, so I always feel like we have a decent shot whenever we come here. I have a lot of friends who come to this track… there’s a lot of history here so this race always excites me. It’s definitely a different feel here. It’s cool to be in these big garages… going down the frontstretch feels so tight and narrow even though it’s not really. You feel like everything is on top of you. And even the echo when you’re in the garage and you hear a car going down the frontstretch is really cool. It’s just a special place and we all enjoy coming here.”
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO YOU TO WIN HERE?
“It would mean a lot. It’s one of our biggest races of the year. Chip, with all the history he’s had here, it would be cool to stand in Victory Lane and kiss the bricks with him and our team. We’ve been working really hard at getting a win. We’d like to do it, and no better place than Indianapolis.”
WITH THE PLAYOFFS STARTING NEXT WEEK, WHAT ARE THE NEXT 10 WEEKS LIKE?
“You come here and then go to next week’s race, everything feels so much different. You wonder who’s been hiding what they’ve got in their cars the last couple of months; everybody rolls out their really good stuff for the playoffs. So that’s fun to pay attention to. The style of racing changes; the first round is a little less aggressive. The good guys with the fast cars just want to get through those first few races without any issues. It’s fun how it totally changes the feel of the season.”
DO YOU HAVE TO MAKE SURE YOU TAKE TIME TO BREAK AWAY FROM THE SPORT, OR IS IT 10 WEEKS WITH YOUR HEAD DOWN?
“In the past I’ve never done anything different than what I do every other week leading up. I’ll still golf a lot. I won’t race dirt races; I’m going race next Wednesday before Vegas but then after that, there aren’t any mid-week shows I could get to. Even if there were, I probably wouldn’t just to not risk anything. For me, I don’t approach anything too differently.”
IN THE PAST YOU’VE SEEN GUYS GO OFF-STRATEGY. SOME OF YOU LIKE CHASE (ELLIOTT), ALEX (BOWMAN), (RYAN) BLANEY… YOU’RE TRYING TO STAY IN THE TOP-10 FOR EXTRA POINTS. IS THIS A RACE WHERE YOU MIGHT GO FOR STAGE POINTS INSTED OF POSITIONING YOURSELF FOR THE WIN?
“I’m not sure how we’ll do it. Yeah, we’re close. We just moved into ninth last week, so it would be good to stay there and get two extra playoff points, which would help. You need to look at how those other guys are calling the races and how we can gain points on them to stay in ninth. You never know… those two extra points could come down to us making the next round. But at the same time you don’t want to risk giving up a shot to win either. We’ll see how it goes. I don’t know what our gameplan is yet, but there’s definitely some different strategies that can go on.”
HOW BIG IS KEEPING MOMENTUM? IS IT EVEN BIGGER TO GET A TOP-FIVE OR TOP-10 SUNDAY?
“Once you get in the playoffs, continuing that momentum is good. I don’t want to go out there with a slow car; if you have a slow car and finish just average then that could hurt your momentum and confidence more than having a fast car and finishing last. As long as we can have a fast car, we can keep that run going.”
HOW MUCH HAS KURT (BUSCH’S) INPUT HELPED FIND SPEED THIS YEAR?
“For me, just listening to the way he communicates to his team, what he feels in the car helps them get up to speed quicker which in turn helps us if you’re off a little. We can look at what they’re doing. He’s been a great asset this year and somebody I’ve been able to learn a lot from.”
LOOKING AHEAD TO VEGAS NEXT WEEK, IT’S A PLACE YOU KNOW PRETTY WELL. WHAT’S GOING TO BE THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE RACE THERE EARLIER THIS YEAR AND WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO SEE NEXT WEEK?
“Last year was way hot compared to the race in March. I don’t really know how to race with this package there now. Everybody’s done their stuff a little better than earlier in year with how the style of racing is. The top got going so good, to me, last time that I assume we’ll be able to run the top again just as fast. Turn Four got really hot and slick, so hopefully handling comes into play. It didn’t seem like there was much of a handling issue earlier in the year, but it was also cooler with more grip. I would like handling to come into play because your teams with a better set-up car will be fast.”