KYLE LARSON, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM CAMARO ZL1 – Pole Win Press Conference
ALL OF THIS SEEMS TO BE COMING TWO OR THREE WEEKS LATE FOR YOU, AS FAR AS MAKING A PLAYOFF RUN. DO YOU LOOK AT THIS AS BUILDING FOR 2023 AT THIS POINT?
“No.. I view it as we need to keep running good so we can go win an owner’s title next week. I don’t view it any differently than if I was in the Round of 8 or not. Maybe I would think differently had I not won the championship last year. I would probably be a little bit more bummed internally. But I’m just as motivated now as I was four weeks ago. It was great to win last weekend and get the pole here today, and I would love to continue the momentum throughout the race tomorrow to help us go have a good run next week.”
IS THE CAR AS GOOD AS IT LOOKS?
“Yeah, probably a lot better than I am (laughs). I struggle at this place. I can put some good laps together, but I’m pretty inconsistent. I don’t think that’s a car thing. I think my car is really good; that shows with my teammates and how well they’ve run here the last few years. I’ve worked really hard to get better here. I still don’t quite have it figured out, or even close to figured out, but days like today help give you a little more confidence. The good track position with how difficult it is to pass in this car will help us for tomorrow and hopefully I can be good enough to keep it up front and have a good finish.”
BUBBA (WALLACE) ADDRESSED THE MEDIA THIS MORNING AND HE SAID YOU GUYS HAD A GOOD TALK. DID IT MATTER, IF AT ALL, THAT YOU GUYS HAD THAT TALK?
“Yeah, it was great to have that talk. I said the same thing. I came downstairs and told my wife that Bubba (Wallace) and I had a great conversation. I thought it went really well and I think we’ve both moved on from it really fast. It was good to have a talk; good to just talk over the frustrations and mistakes on both of our parts. Move on and forget about it, and get back to racing. I feel like we’ve raced really well together in the past. Hopefully I don’t make any more mistakes and we can continue to race good.”
HOW MUCH DIFFERENT DOES THE CAR FEEL NOW THAN IT DID IN THE SPRING?
“It was so long ago that I don’t really remember. I don’t think it’s way different. You’re still loose in; still loose off. I don’t know. The track lays more rubber, but I don’t really think that’s changing things quite like it did with the old car. I’m not sure. I think it’s going to be a similar race to what we saw earlier this year.”
WITH SOME OF THE DESPERATION FROM SOME OF THE GUYS IN THE ROUND OF 8 TO MAKE IT TO THE FINAL FOUR.. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF OUT OF GETTING INVOLVED IN AN INCIDENT?
“I don’t know.. try to lead every lap I guess (laughs).
I look at really the No. 14 (Chase Briscoe); he looked really strong in practice. He’s definitely one of the most aggressive drivers in the field, and then you throw in the fact that he has to win to advance. I’m sure if he’s anywhere near the front of the field at the end, it’s going to get wild. We’ll see.. hopefully I’m in front of it or in front of him, and can avoid any issues. He could get to the lead and walk away with this thing too. That’s how good I thought his car looked in practice.”
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON ALEX (BOWMAN) BEING MEDICALLY CLEARED TO RACE BEFORE THE SEASON ENDS?
“Yeah, that’s huge. I wasn’t quite sure if he would be able to race before the end of the year or not. I think that will be great for himself; his mind and knowing that he can do it, or just give him the confidence to get out there, race and compete. If things don’t quite feel 100% once he gets out there, now he knows and he has the whole off season to prepare. I think it’s good that he’s getting the opportunity to race and got cleared. He’s been working really, really hard. I don’t get to work out in the gym quite as often as he does, but I know he’s been working out multiple times a day, every day, and trying his best to get back in.
Great to see the improvement from the hard work pay off. I hope he can have a good run next weekend. It’s just great to have him back in the car.”
IT DIDN’T LOOK LIKE A LOT OF GUYS IN PRACTICE RAN IN TRAFFIC THAT MUCH. OBVIOUSLY, AFTER THE FIRST RACE, THERE HAS BEEN A LOT OF TESTING THAT NASCAR HAS DONE ON BOTH THE TIRE AND ALSO PARTS OF THE NEXT GEN CAR. WERE YOU ABLE TO FEEL ANYTHING THAT FELT SIMILAR OR DIFFERENT TO WHAT YOU GUYS EXPERIENCED IN THE SPRING HERE?
“Somebody would have to tell me if there is anything different. I don’t really know if there is anything different, so I’m not sure how to answer that. If there is something different, I didn’t feel a difference. And if there’s not a difference, that’s probably why I didn’t feel a difference. I don’t know how to answer that. It felt similar to earlier this year.”