CHEVY MENCS AT NEW HAMPSHIRE ONE: Kyle Larson Post Race Press Conf Transcript

by Official Release On Sun, Jul. 16, 2017

JULY 16, 2017

Chip Ganassi Racing Driver Earns Seventh Runner-Up Finish of the Season

LOUDON, N.H. (July 16, 2017) – After starting in the rear of the field, Kyle Larson and the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS team rebounded to earn a runner-up finish in the Overton’s 301 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The run was the career best finish for Larson in seven races at the Magic Mile.

“I’m proud of our team, proud of everybody at our race shop, Larson said after his second-place effort.
I can’t thank my sponsors Target, Credit One Bank, Chevrolet and all of our other supporters enough for what they do for our team. It’s been a lot of fun these last couple of weeks to be as fast as we have been, so keep working hard at it and maybe we can get some more wins.”

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion, Jimmie Johnson, piloted his No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet SS to a 10th-place finish. His Hendrick Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott, No. 24 NAPA Chevy took the checkered flag in the 11th position. Austin Dillon, No. 3 Dow Chevrolet SS, rounded out the Team Chevy power in the top 15 by finishing the day at the 1-mile short track in 15th.

Denny Hamlin (Toyota) was the race winner, Martin Truex, Jr. (Toyota) was third, Matt Kenseth (Toyota) was fourth and Kevin Harvick (Ford) fifth to round out the top five finishers.

Next weekend the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the annual Brickyard 400.


THE MODERATOR: We’re going to continue on with our post‑race media availability, and we’re joined by today’s runner‑up Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. Kyle put on an incredible display out there today en route to his fourth top‑10 finish in seven races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Kyle, you passed a lot of cars out there today. Did you feel like if this race went on for a few more laps you were going to get the 11?

KYLE LARSON: I thought so. I was catching him a couple tenths of a lap there, and then it seemed like when I got kind of close there, I don’t know, within four or five car lengths at the end, my lap times kind of evened off a little bit with him, I started getting too tight on exit, and I couldn’t carry the speed on exit like I needed to. I’d gain a lot on him on entry, but I couldn’t keep the power down and keep the front turning on exit there that last run.

Finished second, but another hard‑fought race. You know, this is the third time we’ve had to start last and drove up to second. I wish we could have been a spot better again, but really proud of my team and proud of the cars that they’re bringing for me to drive each and every week. It’s been a tough couple weeks through the tech line, so if we make it through here and then have a good Tuesday at NASCAR, but we’ll see.

Q. Kyle, what exactly did happen Friday, and how frustrating is it that these issues have been happening and keeping you from better success than you’ve been having?

KYLE LARSON: Yeah, we just got in trouble for the shark fin there on the rear deck lid. I think with how fast we’ve been running and all that, NASCAR has kept a closer eye on our team in particular. What was going on with the shark fin wasn’t anything different really than the other teams tinker with, just trying to maximize their aero performance in their cars. We just got in trouble for it, so had to go to the back.

Obviously, I don’t think it really affected us, which is a good thing, because the little stuff that we got in trouble for so far hasn’t seemed to affect the performance. Just got to keep working hard on the areas of our race car that are legal and find some more speed that way.

Q. It seems like you were able to pick off spots pretty quickly in the first stage and then in the third stage. What were the adjustments you had to make considering the track changes from yesterday’s cool conditions to today, and do you sometimes feel like you guys have a target on your back literally with what’s going on lately?

KYLE LARSON: For sure. For sure. It seems like we have a target on our back. But that’s a good thing, too. It means everybody is paying attention to us. This is my fourth year, and I’ve never been in the position to where NASCAR and other teams are paying so much attention to our race car. That’s a compliment to everybody at our race shop.

I don’t remember the other question you asked. Oh, about passing lots of people?

Yeah, in the beginning of the race when the VHT was down pretty heavy there, I thought I could get underneath people fairly easy and quickly, and at that point of the race there was a lot of give and take, so most everybody I got to just kind of let me by.

Then towards the end, kind of moved down out of the VHT and was able to run like your normal Loudon line and find a lot of grip and speed there. Seemed like nobody else could really run there like I could. They were all pretty loose doing that, where I could roll the middle and have good drive on exit. But the middle of my corners definitely got tighter throughout the day, and I think we just got the adjustment on that. I’m not sure what adjustments they were making. Probably talk about air pressure and wedge and all that. I don’t even know which direction they go in with that.

But yeah, they made the car better all race, and I was surprised there that last run I was able to pull away from the 78 by a lot. I thought he was the dominant car all day long. Any time he was in front of me, he’d pull away a lot, and then he got to my back bumper there a couple times the last run, but once I moved down to my line that I liked, I started catching the 11 and pulling away from Martin pretty fast.

Q. Kyle, I think a lot of fans, at least from what I saw on Twitter, were like kind of annoyed with all the PJ1‑VHT talk. After it wore out, they were like, oh, this was all a bunch of nothing. But do you think that NASCAR and the track should keep going in this direction, keep experimenting to see, or do you feel like it wears out so quickly that it’s not worth trying?

KYLE LARSON: No, I think it’s awesome. I was surprised at how well it worked this weekend. I liked the element of it changing quickly and wearing out and then wearing out in different spots and stuff. You know, it just adds an element to us that we have to adapt to. In the past here at Loudon, you kind of just run the same line all race long, and today everybody I got around was running somewhat of a different line, and I thought that was a really cool thing.

Restarts were way more exciting, I thought. I thought you could run three or four different lanes, and a lot of times I found myself in a three‑wide situation. It was fun. I normally don’t ‑‑ not necessarily enjoy coming here, but it hasn’t been one of my favorite racetracks because it is so one lane, but today I thought there was a lot of different lanes you could run, and it was all because of the PJ1 that they put on the track. So, for sure I think NASCAR should look at doing it at other racetracks. When we did it at Charlotte, I don’t think it did ‑‑ I don’t think it was a good thing at Charlotte, so I almost think it’s better for tracks that have a slower pace and slower mid‑corner speeds already because it’s hard to get the courage up to enter in that stuff at those fast tracks because you don’t really know how it’s going to react. But here you’re going so slow in the corners, it’s not ‑‑ you’re not going to crash if you go in it.

I think ‑‑ I don’t know, I can’t think of tracks off the top of my head that you could run it at right now, but any track where I think the pace is slower, it would be a good thing.

THE MODERATOR: Kyle, thanks again for the show today, and good luck next week in Indianapolis.

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