Kyle Larson, driver of the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS, met with members of the media to talk about his finish at Bristol last weekend, and other topics.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE MOMENTUM FROM BRISTOL CARRYING OVER TO AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY? “Yeah, last week at Bristol was great for our Target Chevy and Cartwheel Chevy in the Nationwide Series. I’m excited to get here to California. It’s my home state. I grew up about six hours north of here so it’s a little bit of a home race for me. So I’m really looking forward to it. I’m hoping we have two good runs again. Definitely after the runs we had last weekend, it should help build a little bit more momentum. So I’m definitely excited about this weekend.”
YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T THINK IT WOULD BE AN EASY ROOKIE SEASON WITH A LOT OF EXPECTATIONS. WHAT HAS BEEN THE ONE THING THAT YOU THOUGHT WAS GOING TO BE HARDER THAT MAYBE HAS BEEN EASIER? AND ON THE CONVERSE, WHAT HAS BEEN A LITTLE EASIER THAN YOU THOUGHT IT WOULD BE? “Nothing has really been easy. It’s all been tough. Everything is tough in the Sprint Cup Series. I got a glimpse of it last year being able to run four races so I understood how tough it was going to be this season. So nothing has really surprised me at all to start this season. Everybody races extremely hard all race long. The field is really tight. In Nationwide from what I was used to last year, it’s pretty spread out with the quality of the field and all that. In Cup, there are 25-30 drivers that are pretty fast. That’s what makes the Cup series really tough.”
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO PREPARE FOR MARTINSVILLE? YOU HAVEN’T RACED THERE VERY MUCH. IS THERE ANYTHING YOU’VE BEEN DOING? “Not yet. When I get home, I’m sure I’ll run it a little bit on iRacing to try and get used to that stuff. Martinsville is a lot different than what I’ve ever done. I didn’t feel like we were very good there last year when I ran the Cup race and we ended up blowing our engine up so I didn’t get in a full race. But gaining that little bit of experience last season will help some going there again this year. It’s probably not a race I’m looking forward to; I’m pretty nervous about that one. Hopefully we can just stay out of trouble and get a good finish.”
THIS IS A WIDER TRACK, AND YOU WERE AT BRISTOL LAST WEEK WHICH IS A BULLRING. HOW ARE YOU GOING TO TREAT THE RACING HERE? HOW MUCH EASIER OR HARDER WILL IT BE? “I love racing at Auto Club Speedway. It’s probably one of my favorite tracks because it is so wide. You can run anywhere on the track it seems like. Grip changes throughout the race and slows down throughout a run. Those seem to be the tracks that I think I do the best at, even though last week at Bristol was as far as my stats go is my best track. But I like these bigger, slicker tracks. Hopefully practice goes good and we have a solid car and can have a good race on Sunday.”
LAST WEEK, IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT DYLAN (KWASNIEWSKI) IS GOING TO BE A DEVELOPMENT DRIVER WITH GANASSI. BEING A ROOKIE IN THAT ORGANIZATION, DO YOU FIND IT HARD TO PROVIDE GUIDANCE TO A MUCH YOUNGER ROOKIE OR ARE YOU FOCUSED ON YOURSELF AT THIS POINT? “Since I’m running Nationwide this year with Dylan at Turner Scott Motorsports, I can help a little bit because of all the stuff he’s going through this year, I experienced last year. I can give him tips on how the track may change throughout a race and things like that – more driving right now in terms of advice. But he’s a really good kid and smart kid. It’s nice to have him as part of the team. It’s pretty cool getting to work with him. I got to spend a few days with him this week doing some stuff with NASCAR in LA. I’d say we’re pretty good friends, and it’s easy to work with him.”
I’D LIKE TO KNOW WHAT YOU’VE CHANGED IN YOUR CONDITIONING PRE-NASCAR TO NOW AS FAR AS YOUR PHYSICAL BODY GOES. “Not a whole lot, really. Back when I raced sprint cars, I was probably in better shape because I’d race almost every day. Now I have a few days off in the week. I worked out a little bit in the offseason. I haven’t had too much time to do that after the season started. I’ve been a little bit busier. But once things slow down… it seems like the season finally starts getting in a rhythm after this race so I’ll try to get back to the shop and work out with our personal trainer.”
WHERE ARE YOU GUYS GOING TO USE YOUR TESTS THIS YEAR, AND IS THERE ANY CONCERN AS FAR AS THE ROAD COURSES GO? “I think we are going to VIR sometime soon to do a road course test. As far as the handful of tests we get at tracks we race at, I don’t know what we’re doing yet. Our car is running OK so far, so we might try to save them for later this season. If we’re in the Chase or close to the Chase, we’ll use those tracks to get better at.”