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May 15, 2016

Chase Elliott

Kyle Larson

Dover, Delaware

THE MODERATOR: We'll roll into our post race here at Dover International Speedway. Our third‑place finisher is Chase Elliott. Chase is also our top‑finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year candidate. This is his best finish in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, bettering his fourth‑place showing last month at Bristol.
Chase, certainly a grueling race out there today. You were battling for the lead, battling for position there, particularly towards the end. Just take us through those last few laps here at Dover if you would.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, for sure, definitely I thought it was hopefully a good day for the fans. I don't know that it gets a whole lot better than that as far as a race to the finish.
Definitely proud to be a part of it. Unfortunately we couldn't be on the good end of it. But proud of our effort today. We really started a good ways out of where we needed to be. I thought we made a lot of really, really solid gains throughout the day to get our car better and better.
Had a lot of fun racing with those guys at the end there. Like I say, hate to not get the job done and be so close, but we'll keep digging at it and try to get a little better.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Chase Elliott.

Q. Chase, when you made the pass of Kyle, did you sense you had something for Kenseth in the end?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I mean, I felt like we might. It was just a matter of getting some clean laps and not having to fend off the 42 I think was the big thing. When somebody's on your bumper like that, it's hard to put a real good lap together.
When you're racing around people, it just slows everybody down. When the 42 got into the 20, I was able to catch them, got a run on Kyle. Looking back, wish I had done some different things to open up some clear lanes and run different lines.
Regardless, I don't think we were quite as good as what the 42 was there, and he did a good job of getting back by us, giving Matt a shot.

Q. Chase, where were you when the 18 car wreck happened?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Good question. I don't know. Somewhere in the top lane about five or six rows back. I don't know. Somewhere in the middle of it.
Somehow luckily got through it. Wasn't anything special I did. Just happened to work out.

Q. When you're battling those guys late, was it a matter of needing them to make a mistake, were you looking at lines you felt would maybe make your car better?
CHASE ELLIOTT: For sure, just trying to position yourself. The more those guys were side‑by‑side, the better it was for me obviously. When you're side‑by‑side like that, it slows you down so much.
I was trying to get myself in a position where if they were racing, try to get a big run, you know, and just try to choose a lane that nobody was in, which is difficult to do when those guys are side‑by‑side racing for the lead.
I had a chance and didn't get it done. That's about as simple as it gets.

Q. Did the track rubber up much today? Did the track conditions change as the sun came out?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yes, I think the racetrack rubbered up. I've never run a Cup race here before. It seemed like it was kind of sensitive to sunlight and rubber, what happened there as far as where you could run, the ability you had to move around. Yes, the racetrack rubbered up. What I would assume is normal. I've never run a long race here before, but I would assume that is normal.

Q. Chase or Kyle, it was an entertaining battle between the two of you. Is that a preview for the next 10, 15, 20 years?
CHASE ELLIOTT: I certainly wouldn't complain if I was battling for wins for the next 10 years. It would be great on my watch. I don't know about him, but that's the way I would do it. That would be great. I'd love to be in the mix for wins moving forward.
KYLE LARSON: Is that a question for me, too?
THE MODERATOR: Go ahead, Kyle. He asked for both of you.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, no, it was fun battling Chase there. I didn't see him much throughout the race. I knew he was lining up behind me there the last restart.
Kurt got coming towards me. I thought he might have got into the wall or something. Chase got by, was getting big in my mirror quick.
It was fun racing with him, though. We've had a lot of good battles through the XFINITY Series and even K&N. Hopefully we're battling up front for many years to come. Just looking forward to the future.

Q. Chase, you ran well the past month or so. How close do you feel you are to a win?
CHASE ELLIOTT: Well, I hope I'm close. Doesn't really matter what I say. Till you go get it done, it really is irrelevant.
For me, I think I have a team that's capable of doing it. The way I see today, we had our shot, we had a chance to do it today, I didn't do it. It's as simple as that. Either you do or you don't, and we haven't yet.
THE MODERATOR: Chase, I don't think we can ask for anything more than that. We appreciate that. Good luck next week at Charlotte.
Now we'll hear from our race runner‑up, Kyle Larson.
Kyle, you put on a show today. Some great racing here today at Dover. You were contending up there probably halfway through the race, then some things happened. Talk about your day out there today.
KYLE LARSON: It was a very, very eventful race. The first hundred laps, I had no idea I'd be sitting up here on this stage. I was outside the top 20 for most of the first two runs. Went a lap down. Barely got the Lucky Dog in front of Trevor Bayne.
Made an adjustment there. I was kind of tight to start the race, loose the second run. We went back on the adjustment we made, I think. Knew I was pretty decent there after I took back off. Lucky Dog, so I had to pass some slower cars. Thought I did that easily. Kept having good restarts.
I think we took two tires, maybe. Yeah, we took two tires to get to third, get some track position. Was able to get to the lead.
Once I got in the lead, it was surprising how much quicker I was than everybody on the short runs for 25 laps or so. I thought maybe I'd get to lead, the 78 or somebody would be coming right behind me shortly. I couldn't even see in my mirror after 10 laps. I knew we had a good car from that point forward. Knew we just had to maintain our track position.
Chad did a good job on the pit box making the right calls when to take two or four. We had good restarts the whole time.
Yeah, that one restart, I don't know what happened to Jimmie, but he got stacked up. It took out a lot of good cars. Carl and I were about the only two left that I thought had the cars to win.
On that restart, I haven't seen a replay yet, so I don't 100% know what happened. From my view, I got a run on the 19 to go to the bottom to be three‑wide. The 41 and him were outside of me.
Not sure if Carl got loose, went to block me, or if I came up or what. I got into him, turned him into the inside wall. So I feel bad about that, if it was my fault. Even if it's not my fault, I feel bad about that.
Yeah, from there, I knew we were the car to beat. I knew I had to be patient. Fired off, I could see Matt was pretty loose. I was getting away from the guys behind me. Kurt was actually coming. Then I think he got in the wall. I was like, All right, it's going to be me and Matt till the end.
I got to his inside a couple times, really slowed us both down. Chase got to us, got to my inside, actually got by me. I thought it was over from there. I thought Chase would win.
Got calmed down, was able to get back by him and race him for a few laps. Matt was pretty far out in front of me at that point. Just didn't think I'd have another shot at him, but was able to get close, get to his inside one more time. Didn't have enough to get by him.
It was fun racing all race long. Wish I would have got the win, but it's nice to be second.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Kyle Larson.

Q. You've been close to wins before. If you could have gotten to Matt, how rough were you planning to be?
KYLE LARSON: Well, I wasn't. I had gotten close to his bumper a couple times. I may have even got into him once. I didn't want to do anything dirty. I respect Matt Kenseth a lot. He's definitely in my eyes the cleanest racer out there. He always races me with respect. I try to do the same with him.
So I was just going to try and race him as hard as I could without getting into him to beat him. He's sitting in Victory Lane and I'm not, so maybe I need to do something a little bit different, but nothing crazy to take him out or anything.
Maybe use the bumper a little bit. I don't know. It would be nice to be sitting here knowing I'm in the Chase. But keep working hard. We got a lot of points to make up if we don't win a race before the Chase starts.
Keep having runs like today and we shouldn't have a problem.

Q. Kyle, you mentioned your respect for Matt, how you did race him there at the end. I'm not going to ask you to name them, but are there other drivers that would have been in that spot that you would have pushed harder over the last 10 or 12 laps?
KYLE LARSON: I don't know. I'm still early in my career, so I don't want to make anybody mad or make any rivals. You can see, there's some drama in the sport, and it takes drivers years to get over it.
No, I don't know. I try to race everybody with respect. Feel like I do a good job of that. I don't know if I would have done anything different with anybody else.

Q. You've had ups and downs before, you've been close, way off. Last two weeks you've put together great runs and have been in contention. What is going differently now all of a sudden?
KYLE LARSON: We've been building new racecars. We always build new racecars. But we've been building better racecars, I think. We've been learning stuff with the chassis, a lot of bodywork. Just everybody at the shop has been working really, really hard.
It's been really hard to stay positive, but as it's showing now I think everybody has stayed positive, dug really deep to build better stuff. Just keep working hard.
I wanted to give up there early in the race. I went a lap down early. I was like, Oh, this is going to be a really long, boring race. We kept fighting, kept getting track position, got up there.
Just keep working hard in the shop to keep up with the ever‑changing garage area. Like I said, just build nice stuff and make the right decisions on the racetrack.

Q. Before the race, you and your kid and Kevin Harvick's kid were hanging out. Talk about the camaraderie in the garage area.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, there's a bunch of kids in the motorhome lot. They're all similar in age, a couple years' difference. But, yeah, it's cool to see the little kids interacting with each other. Owen can't talk yet, but it's fun to see him, like I said, interact with the other kids, just have fun.
A lot of the kids are probably going to grow up together. As long as I'm in the sport, Owen will grow up with all those kids. Who knows, they may be best of friends. He may date some of the girls.
But, no, it's cool to see all the kids out there having fun.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, certainly you put on an outstanding performance today here at Dover. We wish you the best of luck the rest of the season.
KYLE LARSON: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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