NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
BOJANGLES SOUTHERN 500
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONFERENCE TRANSCRIPT
APRIL 11, 2014
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Darlington Raceway and discussed his progress so far in his rookie season in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and many other topics. Full Transcript:
YOU HAVE A NEW SPONSOR ON THE QUARTER PANEL THIS WEEKEND TALK ABOUT THAT AND THEN TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES THAT DARLINGTON BRINGS PARTICULARLY FOR A YOUNG DRIVER LIKE YOURSELF:
“It’s nice to have one of Target’s partner’s on the quarter panel this week. P3 by Kraft it’s this little snack with meat, cheese and nuts. It’s nice to get a little snack in during this long day today that we are having.
“As far as Darlington goes definitely the toughest track we go to I think. Both ends are so different, (turns) 1 and 2 is a lot faster corner and then the exit slows up a lot. I drilled the wall off Turn 2 earlier today, as well as a couple of people did. We had to get a back-up car out. I’m proud of my Target guys for working really quick to get us back out there in first practice and preparing a really good back-up car. We fired off and were just a little bit slower than our primary, but they worked on it some and felt like we were really good in second practice. We made a couple of long runs then our mock (qualifying) runs were decent. I need to get better to just get around the track faster. I feel like the car handles okay. I just have to figure out some things. It’s a little bumpy off (turn) 2 so that is what’s tricky and then loose off (turn) 4. So I guess it’s just that both ends are way different so just got to figure it out.”
HOW MUCH OF THIS TRACK IS ABOUT JUST FEEL THAT THE DRIVER GETS WHEN HE IS IN THE CAR AND IS THIS TRACK PROBABLY AS CLOSE TO WHERE YOU REALLY OPERATE ON THE EDGE COMPARED TO ANY OTHER PLACE THAT YOU HAVE BEEN?
“It’s definitely on edge. I would say more than the rest of the tracks we run on. Just because you run lap one on the wall and at some point you are going to get into it. Each lap, at least in the Cup car, I feel like I’m going to hit it. It’s just like I said (turns) 1 and 2 is just really fast and 3 and 4 is a little bit more of a normal corner, but you feel like you are going to get into the wall in the center of the corner. Just a tricky track and each lap you run your tires get a little worse. The car handles differently and it gets a little frustrating, but it was good in final practice to figure out some things that helped my car turn better off of (turn) 2, because that is where I’ve been struggling mostly.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE NOTION OF HAVING SOMEONE WHO IS EVEN YOUNGER THAN YOU BE SUCCESSFUL IN CHASE ELLIOTT? DO YOU FORESEE A KYLE LARSON AND CHASE ELLIOTT RIVALRY THAT COULD LAST MANY YEARS?
“Yeah, I guess. I don’t even call me and Kyle (Busch) a rivalry we are just racing each other each week and want to beat each other. It’s not like a bad rivalry or anything like that. I mean Chase (Elliott) does an amazing job in a race car. He has been quick every race so far this season. He seems like he gets better and better each week. He is going to win a couple of more times this year and hopefully with us both being young we are going to be racing and battling each other for the rest of our careers. Hopefully we will be doing it up front in the Cup series. He is with a great organization over there with Hendrick Motorsports and JR Motorsports. I’ve got good stuff over at Chip Ganassi Racing too so hopefully we will be duking it out for a long time.”
YOU LIKE THE HIGH SIDE IT SEEMS TO BE KIND OF AN INSTINCT FROM YOUR SPRINT CAR DAYS WITH THE CUSHION AND THAT SORT OF THING. DOES DARLINGTON SPECIFICALLY GIVE YOU A PAUSE TO THINK ABOUT WHAT KIND OF HAS BEEN YOUR NORMAL STYLE OF RUNNING UP HIGH?
“I definitely think more about it here just because you are carrying so much speed up to the wall. Most of the other tracks the entry is pretty wide and you can ease your way up to the wall, where here you are hauling butt up to the wall. The wall here is not very smooth either. It comes out and does all sorts of different things. It will reach up and grab you quick and really can tear up your car if you get into it. Where other tracks I feel like you can nudge it and it is okay. I think maybe in the Nationwide car you can do that here, but in the Cup car I feel like it’s going to tear up your right-front if you do that. It’s a long race and my goal is definitely to try to stay out of the wall as long as possible. I know I will probably get into it at some point, but hopefully it’s in the later part of the race.”
AFTER SEVEN RACES IF YOU COULD JUST ASSESS YOUR SEASON WITH THE TEAM, YOUR CONFIDENCE, WHAT THE TEAM IS DOING GOOD, BAD AND THINGS LIKE THAT?
“We have been good every week. Every week I feel like we have had great speed. Our car has been in the top 10 I feel like most races. Martinsville was probably our worst one and that’s a lot of it to do with me. I think we have been doing a great job. The first couple of races we made some mistakes, but now it seems like we have kind of got some momentum and figuring things out and the races have been going smoother for us. We have been getting solid finishes so just have to keep that little streak going and just be consistent. So far there have been a lot of winners so you have to put yourself in position for later in the season if the 16 fill up and you don’t have a win. I feel like we should get a win here shortly.”
HOW CLOSELY DO YOU PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROOKIE STANDINGS?
“My goal was always to win the Rookie-of-the-Year so it hasn’t changed yet. We have put ourselves in position to win that so far. I pay attention to the rookie points and right now we are leading it. I definitely pay attention to where Austin (Dillon) is at as well as Justin Allgaier and the other rookies just because I want to win that bad, so just working hard to do that. Austin is really good at finishing races and being consistent in getting his car better throughout each run so it makes me work hard to do that also.”
WILL COMPETING IN THE NATIONWIDE SERIES RACE TONIGHT HELP YOU FOR THE CUP RACE TOMORROW NIGHT?
“I definitely think the Nationwide race will help me more tonight than it has at the other races just because this track is so difficult. You drive the track pretty similar in both Nationwide and Cup so I think however many laps the race is tonight should help me and help me figure out some different lines and stuff. The track is going to have a lot of rubber on it by the time we get out for the Nationwide race. It’s going to get trickier and trickier, so I think it’s going to help me a lot tonight.”
TALK ABOUT THE SUCCESS THIS YEAR YOUR TEAM HAS REALLY BEEN DOING WELL. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE THIS YEAR?
“I just think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I think everybody at Target Chip Ganassi Racing has built great cars for myself and Jamie (McMurray). Jamie has a new crew chief, I’m new there in the No. 42 car and I just think the chemistry over there is really good right now. Jamie and I work really well together. We can talk to each other very easily. We have been talking a lot this week just because it is a difficult track. The crew chiefs and engineers work really hard to make our cars better. I just think everybody is getting along really well and gelling and that pays off.”
HOW TOUGH IS THIS TRACK COMPARED TO OTHER TRACKS ON THE CIRCUIT?
“It’s the toughest track we go to I think. There are other really
tough tracks, but this one is tough in its own way. The wall reaches out and grabs you really quick here. We got into the wall pretty hard off (Turn) 2 and decided to get the back-up out. They said they probably could have fixed that one, but it wouldn’t have been right for the second practice and stuff. We decided to get the back-up out. They said it was just as good as our primary so I had the same amount of confidence after I wrecked in first practice to when I got in the back-up car. Just hats off to my guys for working quick to get me back out there to get me as many laps as I could.”
NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES