September 9, 2017
THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winner Kyle Larson, driver of the No.42 Target Chevrolet. This is your fourth win of the season. You'll have a total of 23 playoff points heading into Chicagoland next week. Talk a little bit about what this extra win means as you head into the playoffs.
KYLE LARSON: I should have more than 23, I think. I don't know if we were second or third in the regular season playoffs, or Chase, or whatever, season. But yeah, I get some more bonus points there, too, so I think I should have 28 or 29 or more.
Yeah, good night for us to win at a short track. Feels amazing. But to have our pit crew perform like they did tonight makes me feel very proud for them and our whole organization. I'm not a very good short track racer, so for us to come here and challenge for the win and get the win, it feels great. Hopefully we can carry this momentum off into the playoffs and make it through the three rounds or whatever it is to make it to Homestead and go for the championship. I feel like I'd have a really good shot there this year.
Q. People will talk about‑‑ comment that you stole the race because Truex was so dominant, but you ran up front all night. What does that say about your development as a driver if you're not a good short track racer that you were up front all night tonight?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, we definitely stole the win, I guess you could say, or our pit crew I felt like stole the win because they got me off as the leader. But yeah, Richmond and Martinsville are probably my worst racetracks, and you can throw Loudon in there, too. I know I've got some good finishes there and ran really strong there early in the year, but historically these style of tracks don't suit me.
I know everybody says I grew up short track racing, but this is way different than sprint car racing on a short track. This is really, really slow, heavy braking, off the throttle a lot, taking care of your tires, where sprint car on a quarter mile you're still wide open a lot of times, depending on how the track is. This is different, and I've had to learn a lot. I feel like I've definitely gotten better at it. I can go really fast on the short runs and stuff at all these shorter flat tracks, but it seems like I struggle on the long run, which I did tonight, but it came down to a short run, and we got the win.
Q. Kyle, how gratifying is it to go into the playoffs with a win and to go into Chicagoland with all this momentum from tonight?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it's great. You know, to get a win right before the playoffs start, I really hope it helps the momentum and the confidence, especially I know there's confidence with our team. There always has been. We've just got to keep working hard throughout the playoffs, at the race shop and at the racetrack, make sure we're improving our cars, which we have been all season long. I feel like we bring better and better cars every week. Just got to make no mistakes in these final races and hopefully we'll give ourselves a shot at the championship.
Q. A lot of your fellow Chevy drivers and Ford drivers have complained about trying to find the speed to keep up with the Toyotas. You just seem to put your head down, mat the gas and do what you need to do. Is that probably the best philosophy to look at it rather than just dwell on what the other guys have?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I don't know if it's like politics or what, or why‑‑ I complain about it, too, I guess, a little bit that the 78 in particular is just way faster. I mean, everybody can see it. I've got the same amount of wins as him, but he should have probably have like 10 or 12 wins if things would go his way more often. But he's been the class of the field all year, and the Toyotas in general have been really strong here the last few months. But I look at it as we all just have to work harder. Chevy is an amazing manufacturer that we work really hard, and Hendrick on the engines, they work really hard. But at our race shop, we build all of our own chassis and bodies, and all we get supplied is engines and transmissions from Hendrick.
It's cool to be the next best, I would say, to Toyota right now, or really the 78 car. So we've just got to work hard and get to where they're at. Toyota and TRD, they've done a really good job, and we all have some catching up to do.
Q. Four wins this season. I know it's been a breakthrough year for you and to come back here in the fall and in the regular season with a win, when you look back at 2017 before heading into the post‑season, what do you think was your biggest attribute that led to this breakthrough and all the success?
KYLE LARSON: Well, yeah, I think what I can point to for this being a breakout season is just better race cars. In the past up until this season, we never start the year off good. We get fast and contend for wins, but it takes‑‑ we're always behind kind of fighting before we get to around this time of year, and this year we started off really good. I knew if we could start off a season as good as what we'd ended, we'd have a shot at wins, and we were able to do that and actually be better I feel like than where we ended last year to start this year. So it's really helped our season, and our team is just working really well together, Chad and Phil and Jeremy, everybody, all the engineers, really just everybody at the race shop works so hard and brought great race cars to the track, and that's really what it takes.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports