NASCAR SPRINT CUP SERIES
AUTO CLUB 400
AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
TEAM CHEVY DRIVER PRESS CONF. TRANSCRIPT
MARCH 18, 2016
KYLE LARSON, NO. 42 TARGET CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Auto Club Speedway and discussed his progress thus far this season, how the new rules package has affected his driving style and many other topics. Full Transcript:
ON PRACTICE AND THE FEEL OF THE CAR:
“All of Cup practice we spent in qualifying trim there. We ended up fifth that was because we were one of the first cars out there in qualifying trim, the track had more grip and all that. I thought we struggled a little bit there in practice to try and get the right feel. Both ends were quite a bit different feel wise for me. (Turns) 1 and 2 would be close and then we would get down to (Turns) 3 and 4 and be terrible. Then we got 1 and 2 better and we were still too tight in 3 and 4. Then finally we got too loose in 1 and 2 and were okay in 3 and 4. So, we tried getting the balance better throughout all of practice. There at the very end I changed up a little bit of what I was doing and thought we gained a little bit more speed, but still we were a couple of tenths off. We will probably still qualify good here in a little bit. In Xfinity practice there obviously Kyle Busch is really fast, but I thought once he fell off we were just as good, if not better than him. It’s a track I like a lot. That run we had in 2014 was really good in both races. Hopefully, we can come here tomorrow and Sunday and do just a little bit better than we did in 2014.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT QUALIFYING TODAY?
“Qualifying is always interesting here because there are so many different lines you can run. It’s hard to really know and pick the right spot. In practice I tried three or four different lines and kind of ran all about the same speed. I don’t know. We will just have to wait and see. It’s a fun track to qualify at, like I said, because there are so many lines and lap time… a couple of tenths can be found by just moving a couple of feet. Just have to keep an eye on it. Hopefully, we can transfer through the first round and get to look at some dartfish there and see maybe what other people did a little different. And go out there and adjust what I’m doing or what we need to do in the car and get better.”
WHAT ARE YOUR OPINIONS ON THE NEW LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE?
“I definitely think the racing is a lot better than it was last year. Car handling wise, I don’t feel like it drives any different than it did last year, but we are able to run now close to the back bumper of people which is what we wanted. I don’t know. Whether you have zero downforce or thousands of downforce you still have to have a good car, good handling, good speed and all that. Right now we have just kind of struggled with getting the speed. I feel like our balance has been close for the few races we’ve ran, just lack speed. And especially on the long runs that is where I feel like we struggled at last year and so far this season we have struggled with that as well. Hopefully, we can take what we have learned here on the West Coast and get back to the shop and try and make our cars better. We’ve gotten a little bit better the last couple of weeks, but we still have a long way to go. Try and stay positive and stay confident and hopefully our guys can figure it out and we can be good.”
HOW CLOSELY ARE YOU AND YOUR TEAM MONITORING THE POINT’S SITUATION AT THIS TIME IN THE SEASON?
“I think you monitor it all the time. Especially, probably in our position where we haven’t been that fast because we have to make sure we are finishing races consistently. I made a mistake there at Vegas and cost us probably 15 to 20 points which is a lot of positions this early in the year. Atlanta we were really bad. I mean obviously, you look at other teams that haven’t gotten wins yet. You look at the No. 20 team for instance. They have kind of struggled this year, but I’m sure they are not worried about points because they have the speed they just haven’t gotten the finishes. Since we don’t have the speed we, or least I, I don’t know about the rest of the guys on our team, but I’m trying to pay attention to it to kind of set goals each weekend to try and figure out where I need to finish to maintain a good points position.”
DOES IT MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE WITH THE NEW RULES PACKAGE TO RUN ON SATURDAY TO HELP YOU ON SUNDAY?
“No, I don’t think so. I think anytime you can run more on a race weekend on the same race track it’s going to help. You look at 2014 and the rules were I guess probably more different than they are now and I feel like I learned just as much then as I do now. I like racing double duty most of the time. There are some race tracks where I feel like it doesn’t really help you, it could kind of hurt you, but this is not one of those places. I think if you look at the tracks I’m running this year they are the tracks that kind of change a lot throughout a race. That is why I picked those just to try and help me learn as much as I can before Sunday’s.”
YOUR SCHEDULE INCREASED IN THE XFINITY SERIES THIS YEAR FROM LAST YEAR ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT THAT?
“Yeah, I thought in 2014 I ran every Xfinity Series race I could that was a companion race and got kind of burned out, but last year I thought I was going to have a good number and I was bored. We added I think three or four races maybe from last season to this season. I’m looking forward to that. I picked little different tracks, tracks I normally run well at so hopefully I’ll have more fun.”
CAN YOU TALK A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT IT’S BEEN LIKE TO WORK WITH YOUR NEW CREW CHIEF?
“I like Chad (Johnston) a lot. He is quiet and focused, a lot like Shine (Chris Heroy) was, but he is also a little different in the way that he communicates with me. I think that he understands the driver stuff more where Shine was more like engineer driven. Both really good crew chiefs, but so far I like Chad a lot. Obviously, we are still early in the year so we are still trying to figure out each other. He is probably trying to figure me out more than me figuring him out. Early in the year I would day ‘I’m a little bit loose’, but on the driver data it would show that I’m really loose.
“So than he would kind of under adjust and we would be really loose come like qualifying or something. He is figuring me out more and more. I feel like we work well together. Jamie (McMurray) and I both don’t have the speed right now.”
DO YOU THINK THAT IS A GANASSI ISSUE?
“I guess maybe, I don’t know, just because both of us are struggling. If one car was a lot better than the other then we could place blame on the driver more. Yeah, everybody at the shop is working really hard, we just haven’t hit on the right thing, I guess, to make speed. There are a lot of other teams that we ran around last year that are better than we are I feel like this year. That has been a little disappointing, but having that stuff happen early in the year it makes everybody work really hard. I’m confident in everybody at the shop. They’ve got the brains, I just hold the wheel. They will get it better and we will start running up front more often.”
HARVICK SAID WITH THE LOW DOWNFORCE PACKAGE DRIVERS WOULD HAVE TO LIFT MORE DID YOU NOTICE THAT AT ALL IN PRACTICE?
“Yeah, I guess a little bit. I remember last year I could run flat pretty easily coming to the green where this year I had to pedal it a little bit. I’m sure your lift points are a little bit earlier in the corners. We come here once a year, so it’s kind of hard to remember what it felt like last year, but yeah it’s a little different, but not too terribly different.”
ON TIRE FALL OFF:
“This track is … even when we had high downforce the pace would fall off really fast, three, four tenths a lap for the first eight or so laps. So, it’s no different I don’t think with the lower downforce, maybe it falls off a little bit quicker, I’m not sure. This track is just a lot of fun. It’s got a really worn out surface. It’s always hot out here in southern California, so the track gets really slick. It makes it fun for us because we have to search around for grip.”
KURT BUSCH SAID THE NEW PACKAGE MAKES YOU DRIVE THE CAR DIFFERENTLY, HOW DID YOU CHANGE YOUR DRIVING STYLE?
“I don’t know, I guess I haven’t. Like I said earlier, I don’t feel like it drives a whole lot different, we just can run closer to each other. That has made the racing better in my opinion. As far as driver’s style, I don’t know if anybody has … or at least I don’t feel like I have changed my driving style much. Maybe I should.”
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