MONSTER ENERGY NASCAR CUP SERIES
PRE-SEASON MEDIA AVAILABILITY
CHARLOTTE MEDIA TOUR
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
JANUARY 25, 2017
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Charlotte Media Tour and discussed visiting Australia and New Zealand during the off-season, the new race format, and more. Full Transcript:
TALK ABOUT AUSTRALIA:
“Australia was a lot of fun. I got to go to down there and race at Sydney Speedway, which is somewhere I’ve wanted to race for a long time now. It was a good time. We stayed in Parramatta. I got to go to the Sydney Zoo and Bondi Beach near Sydney, which was a lot of fun. I only got to run three races. One rained out and I ran third in two of them and had a really bad night in one of them. We went from Australia to New Zealand for a couple of days to try and race there, but that ultimately got rained out as well. But, I had a blast. At least for the Australia part our whole family was there. So, it was fun. We all got to hang out and had a good time. It was a fun off-season. I got to do the Chili Bowl, which is always fun. I didn’t have a good year there, but did win the Race of Champions, which was nice. So, it was a solid off-season, for sure.”
AS A GUY WHO LIKES TO GO FAST ALL THE TIME, DOES THIS NEW FORMAT BENEFIT YOU?
“I don’t know. We’ve got to wait and see, I guess. I think everybody already races hard, so it’s not like everybody is going to step up any harder than we already are. I don’t know. My qualifying is up and down. I think qualifying is going to be more important now, this year, for gaining points especially in that first segment. So, if you can qualify well, you should be able to gain more points. It will be interesting to see. I don’t really know how the style of racing is going to change with this new format until we kind of get going throughout the first month or month and a half.”
A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO YOU CAME INTO THE LERNERVILLE SPEEDWAY AND YOU WERE LATE AND YOU HAD TO START DEAD LAST IN THE FEATURE
“I wasn’t late.”
WHY DID YOU HAVE TO START LAST?
“That format is the twin features and the first feature a spark plug wire came undone, so I thought we had blown up, so I pulled off. They invert the field, but you have to be on the lead lap to be inverted. So anyway, I didn’t finish the first feature so I had to start last in the second one.”
YOU PASSED 23 CARS IN 25 LAPS. THE CONSENSUS OF OPINION WAS THAT THIS KID’S GOT QUITE A FUTURE IN RACING. AND YOU’VE PROVED THAT. YOU’RE NOW WITH ONE OF THE PREMIER TEAMS IN NASCAR.
“I love racing for Chip (Ganassi) and Felix (Sabates) and Rob (Kauffman). All three of them together are great owners and they make great race teams. So, I have enjoyed my career so far with them and hopefully I’m with them for a long time to come.”
YOU JUST MENTIONED YOU RAN IN AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND. YOU ARE DRIVING ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE STREET WITH THE STEERING WHEEL ON THE WRONG SIDE OF THE CAR. DID YOU HAVE TROUBLES WITH THAT?
‘No, honestly not. When I think back to the first year I went to New Zealand, I was nervous and whatever. But, honestly once you do it, it just feels natural. You’re just on the opposite of the road. All the things work the same, it’s just backward. The first year I went to New Zealand, I spent like 17 days there. And the last day I was there I made a mistake and was driving on the wrong side of the road. But, it’s fine. It’s pretty easy. My dad wouldn’t drive at all in Australia because he was intimidated. But it’s easy.”
WHAT ABOUT SHIFTING?
“Oh, no. I’m automatic, man; I couldn’t do that. I struggle enough shifting the right way. But I can’t imagine going in first and second and pulling to third and fourth.”
WHEN YOU WERE IN SYDNEY, DID YOU TRY THE MORETON BAY BUGS? IT’S SEAFOOD. LIKE LOBSTER
“Oh, no. I hate seafood. I didn’t eat it. An Asian who doesn’t like seafood, that’s weird (laughter). I’m not a big seafood eater. But I know they put beets on everything, so I had to make sure I didn’t ask for beets. The first night I was there I ordered spaghetti marinara expecting it to be spaghetti and tomato sauce. People had told me the first time I went to New Zealand that marinara is not the same. And I just overlooked it I guess. And it showed up with all sorts of things in it. And, I had to order some chicken after that.”
HAS THIS OFF-SEASON FELT ANY DIFFERENT FOR YOU KNOWING THAT YOU’RE GOING INTO THE SEASON WITHOUT THE WEIGHT OF NOT HAVING WON A CUP RACE? OR, DO YOU STILL HAVE PRESSURE ON YOU TO KEEP WINNING?
“It doesn’t feel any different. I just continue to want to win. Wanting to win the second win is just as important as wanting to win the first win, to me. So yeah, it doesn’t feel any different. I’m just going to go out there and try to do the best job I can every single week and hopefully we can get some more wins this year.”
ALONG THOSE SAME LINES, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU GUYS NEED TO DO DIFFERENTLY TO MOVE IT ALONG TO THE NEXT LEVEL? WHAT DO YOU PINPOINT AS WHAT YOU NEED?
“I don’t know if there is one thing you can pinpoint. I think everything needs to be better. Aero. To be a championship team, you need to just be better than everybody at everything. I could do a better job at executing. Our pit calls could be better. I’m not saying that anything is bad, but I’m saying that everything could be a little bit better to gain lap time and improve on finishes. So, we just try to focus hard and dig down deep to make everything a little bit better.”
WHAT IS YOUR SPRINT CAR MIDGET SCHEDULE THIS YEAR?
“I’ve got some races planned. I’m allowed to run about 25 races throughout the year. I’ve done three or four already. This season, it’s harder to find races because last year worked out perfectly the way the NASCAR season was, at least where the off-weekends fell. I got to run six nights of Ohio Speedweek with the All Stars. I got to run the Knoxville Nationals. But this year, I probably only get to run two nights of Speedweek and maybe I can run Oskaloosa during Nationals week. I’ll probably do a couple nights of Midget Week again. It will just be harder to find races. I’ll have to look for more mid-week Sprint Car races.”