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November 21, 2015

Kyle Larson

Harry Scott, Jr.

Mike Shiplett

Homestead, Florida

THE MODERATOR: Our race winner for today's 21st annual Ford EcoBoost 300 is Kyle Larson, and he's the driver of the 42 crush Chevrolet for Harry Scott Jr., and he's joined by his crew chief Mike Shiplett. Congratulations, Kyle. Congratulations, Harry and Mike. Kyle, I'm going to start with you. You just got a pretty good compliment there from Roger Penske about the ride that you had out here today. That certainly is tall praise. I must say that the ride that you had out there today tracking down Dillon after you got behind there, this has to rank as a pretty good victory for you, doesn't it?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, for sure. This is definitely my favorite racetrack on the circuit by fashion, at least for the XFINITY Series goes. I was close to winning my rookie season here in 2013, about 50 foot short of winning it last year, and then this year once again we had a really fast car and was able to lead the most laps again and almost gave it away again on a late‑race restart. I was pretty frustrated with myself with 12 or so laps to go when Austin was about half a straightaway in front of me, and I didn't even know if I could get to third, really. I was surprised that those guys up in front of me didn't get to the wall where I had been running the whole race, and once the tires kind of slowed down, I was able to close very quickly on those guys and get to Austin's back bumper and kind of put a little pressure on him to make a mistake there because he knew he had to move up and try and take my line away and do it really fast.
He just got in the corner a little too hard and straight and got into the wall, and I was able to get my car turned down underneath him and come away with the lead off 4 and then just kind of cruise to the win.
But thanks to Harry Shiplett, ENEOS, Parker Stores, Target, Crest, everybody, Chevy. It's cool to help get Chevy the manufacturer's championship and hopefully we'll have a good Cup race tomorrow. I thought our Target car was really good today in practice, so as long as I can keep it off the wall, I should be okay.
THE MODERATOR: Mike Shiplett, talk about the win here today and maybe some of the things you saw as the car progressed throughout the past couple days.
MIKE SHIPLETT: Well, thank you. Thanks for Crest, Chevrolet, sponsoring us this weekend. The car‑‑ with Kyle, the 54, and he could keep up with us for about 10, 15 laps, and we started to pull away from him. Watching the 33 and those other guys behind us after five or six laps, they really fell off and we were able to maintain our pace. We were just telling Kyle, once it gets all strung out, you'll run him back down four or five laps and luckily there was enough laps left in the race that we could catch him.
The car ran really good, really proud of all the people back at the shop that built this car for us, and really looking forward to next year with these cars.
THE MODERATOR: Harry Scott Jr., congratulations on this win. This has to be pretty sweet for you and your race team. Talk about the significance of winning here today in this season‑ender at Homestead‑Miami Speedway.
HARRY SCOTT JR.: Thank you very much. It was a very special ending to a very hard‑fought season for this team. When Chip Ganassi and I developed this idea to do this partnership this year, we were kind of starting from scratch back in January. It came together late. Kyle came on board, naturally, and we had D.C. Solar and Brennan Poole come on, and we've been‑‑ we've had speed a great deal of the time, and this car that we ran today is the same car we ran in Texas, and it's representative of what we're going to have on the racetrack next year.
And to me, that's very encouraging. The race today obviously was a great race for the fans. It almost killed me about six different times, but it was, I'm sure, exciting for the fans.
So you know, between Chip Ganassi and Hendrick Motors giving us the horsepower we needed in order to be successful and Kyle hanging in there when he's run out of gas, we've broken axles, had all kinds of stuff happen this year, and he should have been up here two or three times before today, and I'm just thankful and grateful that we got here today at the end of the season so we can take this momentum and move it into 2016.

Q. Harry, can you talk about how far this team has come? Just these last couple races with Kyle pretty much in contention for the last two wins here on the mile‑and‑a‑halfs?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: Well, we set out on a pretty deliberate pace at the beginning of the year, and sometimes it doesn't seem as fast as you want it to be, but what we ended up doing, and it proved to be a very good strategy, was to see what we had to start the year with before we went and changed things for the sake of changing things, and I think the guys, Max Jones and the guys back at Chip Ganassi Racing, and Mike Shiplett, to his credit, as well, they concentrated on things that were going to get us speed the quickest. It took a little bit of time to ramp it up, and basically what you were looking at was a brand new race team this year.
For us to have come where we started at the beginning of the year, maybe lacking a little bit of speed, and now having some of the best speed that I've had since I've been racing to me is a pretty big accomplishment, and there are a lot of people that I owe a debt of gratitude for that.

Q. Kyle, can you talk about those battles you had with Kyle Busch and Austin Dillon and coming back there on the closing laps to win?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, Kyle was better than me, I thought, for probably eight to ten laps, and it was a matter of me just being able to beat him into Turn 1, clear him off Turn 2, and then just trying to hold him off and watch my mirror a lot to try and take his air away. We were side drafting each other a few different restarts down the straightaways, and I was able to come out in front of him each time, which was good for our race because it made him drive really hard to make mistakes that you don't hardly ever see. He got into the wall a few times, and then their pit crew made an error there on the past pit stop. I thought it was going to be a lot easier to get the win after my team said that the 54 had an uncontrolled tire.
And then to go into the last‑‑ second to last restart‑‑ the third to last restart, actually, I had the 33 to my back bumper, and I normally‑‑ well, I normally am not on the front row to even control a restart, so I don't do it often, but you try and wave them to come to your back bumper to close momentum so he did it the first time and we were able to clear Kyle off 2. I knew I shouldn't have done it the second to last restart because it was within 20 to go, but I did it, and Austin hung me out there once we got clear of the flag stand, which he should have, and I was kind of mad at myself for doing it.
Yeah, then the last restart, I just told myself not to spin the tires, and I was a little too hesitant taking off, and then got rolling into it too quick and spun my tires really bad, and then just‑‑ I don't even know what happened in the middle on 2, but I was in like fifth off 2.
I almost wrecked myself trying to clear myself up in front of Erik Jones. He hooked me a little bit and got me squirrelly, and then he was upset at me and psycho swerved at me into 1 and got into my left front and thought I was going to get in the outside wall. Was able to keep it off that, and then, yeah, I just got really upset at myself and just started driving really hard, kissed the wall a few times, but never got the right front into it, so I was able to keep my speed up and just close a few car lengths of straightaway it seemed like. Glad I didn't run out of time because I've been wanting to win here for a few years, and came close to giving it away.

Q. What did you think of your pit stops?
KYLE LARSON: Our pit stops were solid all night. They've been good all year. Last year I struggled on pit road myself and lost a few races, a couple races here the last weekend, and then we've been‑‑ they've been really good all season long. Had a pit crew change after I think the second race of the season, and I'd been starting to go to the shop and watch pit film, review that stuff, and see where I was making mistakes, learning from those guys on what to do to make our stops better, and since then we've been pretty solid.
The last stop it seemed like there might have been an issue on the right front maybe and the 54 beat us off pit road but caught a break with his pit crew making a mistake. But yeah, other than that, our pit stops have been solid all year long.

Q. Harry, first off, do you know your driver lineup for this car for next year?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: We'll be announcing that in the near future, but we don't have it completely solidified yet, and we're not at a position where we can talk about it yet.

Q. And do you have a crew chief for Clint on the Cup side for next year, and if you don't, is the goal to have a crew chief that moves with him to Stewart‑Haas or one who stays with you?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: There haven't been any final decisions made on that yet, either. We're looking at a number of options at this point, all of them good options. Thank you, though.

Q. Kyle, obviously two different series, two different cars, but could you just talk about the confidence, having this kind of good run tonight gives you for tomorrow and finishing out the season real strong?
KYLE LARSON: I always have a lot of confidence when I come to Homestead. It's just there's no other track that suits me like this track. You practice right against the wall, and it's‑‑ I don't know, I'm just really comfortable running against the wall.
No, I love this track, and I seem to always have good race cars when I've came here. I ran for Turner in the Truck Series, Turner Scott Motorsports in XFINITY, and Chip's stuff in the Cup Series, and I always have really good race cars when I come here. It's a matter of me not making too many mistakes throughout the race, and I seem to run up front a lot. You look at my stats, and I don't lead many laps, but this is about the one track where I lead the most laps.
Yeah, I wish we could come here about half the season, but we don't, and we've got to go run racetracks on the bottom about every week, and I look forward to going to the tracks where we can run the top. But yeah, I'm excited for tomorrow. We had a really good car today in practice. I thought we were definitely a top 5 car. I thought I could‑‑ once the track got shaded I could move around quite a bit. So yeah, we'll see.
Practice is tough here in the Cup car because it's swayed by people‑‑ you can run really fast lap times in practice by just running inches off the wall, but then it seems when the race fires off, it's hard to do that every lap, and the guys that have practiced running the middle or splitting the top seam seem to shine more, and that's what I've tried to get better at here in the practice in the Cup Series by just running consistent laps up top.

Q. Kyle, obviously Ford and Ganassi announced the permanent lineups for the two GTs. Do you expect to be part of that?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don't know. There's been lots of talk about us running the prototype car again in Daytona. I don't know if it's 100 percent sure yet or not, and then as far as LeMans goes, that would be a lot of fun to do for sure. So we'll just have to wait and see, talk to Chip, and see what sprint car races are out there.

Q. Harry, do you have any plans next year to keep running Rico, whether it's in K&N or the trucks or something of that nature?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: Well, we love Rico, and we had a great year with him in the K&N Series. You know, he's got a bright future in NASCAR, and we are at this very moment exploring possibilities for him for next year, trying to figure out what will further his career the best and where he'll be the happiest.
I'm sure Rico will fit in somewhere for sure, but we want to make sure that it's the right spot and we don't move him along too quickly.

Q. Kyle, just thinking about the roller coaster that this sport can be, what level of frustration have you had this season in this series, number one, but number two, ever had more fun than running this race today or any race at this level?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I've been frustrated a number of times this year. Some races we haven't had the speed that we had last year, but then we've also had a lot of races where we were pretty fast, and then something would happen to us in the last run of the race to where we would drop 10 or more spots and not get the finish we deserved.
See, it's just been a really inconsistent year. Last year I thought I could run‑in side the top 12 almost every weekend, where this year we'll run‑‑ like I said, we'll be running in the top eight and something will happen, or we just have a bad car and run outside the top 30.
It's been frustrating both series. Harry had mentioned running out of fuel there at Chicago twice in one day. It was really frustrating. So there was a lot of frustrating moments, but then you get to go to fun racetracks like this fun and forget all those moments and you enjoy it. To win, it's really special, especially when you haven't won in over a year in a NASCAR national series. Glad to finally get another win.

Q. Harry, this was Crest's second race, new sponsor for the organization in 2015. How important was it for the team to get them a victory and hoping that they'd expand the partnership next season?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: Well, you know, it's always, always important to be competitive and to get your sponsors like Crest, especially a new sponsor, to be able to show them what the NASCAR XFINITY Series platform can do for their brand and for their promotions.
So I seem to have the best luck with the newest sponsors for some reason. We won our first race, ENEOS won its first race with us a couple years ago, or last year, I can't even remember, it's such a blur at this point, but we've had other sponsors in the past that their very first race, it might be a one or two‑off race, and they win the race. We've got other sponsors that are on the car 12 or 16 times a year and we haven't won a race for them yet.
You take them when you can get them, and you're just thankful for them. It's so competitive and so tough, and that Chip Ganassi Racing building Monday morning will be abuzz. It needed a win.
Hopefully this will break a drought for them.

Q. Kyle, the story with the hat, how long did it take you to find that? Did they increase the price on it when they found out who wanted to buy it?
KYLE LARSON: No. I got it‑‑ I got a few vintage hats during the past off‑season right before Speedweeks, and this was one of the hats that I picked up off eBay. I probably only got it for like 26 bucks plus tax and shipping. Yeah, no, it's his '93 rookie season hat.
I was a year old.
No, it's cool to pay a little bit of respect back to Jeff Gordon. It's also neat to say that I was able to win a race on his final weekend of racing. I hope I can win it tomorrow. But yeah, everybody in the sport has looked up to him, and it's going to be sad to see him running his final laps tomorrow, but man, it's going to be awesome if he can pull off that championship. Quite a party in Miami, too, afterwards, I'm sure.

Q. Harry, do you have any plans on moving Clint's team up to Kannapolis close to the Stewart‑Haas Racing shop?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: No, there are no plans at this point, no firm plans for what we're going to do next year. Right now the plan is just to stay the course in Spartanburg.

Q. Are you part of the Brian Scott sweepstakes?
HARRY SCOTT JR.: No. You're going to have to fill me in on that.
KYLE LARSON: Sorry I ran good. I feel like you're getting attacked. (Laughter.)
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations to the No.42 team, driver Kyle Larson, crew chief Mike Shiplett, and team owner Harry Scott Jr. Big day for your organization today, and certainly enjoy this win. Thank you very much.

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