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March 5, 2017

Kyle Larson

Hampton, Georgia

THE MODERATOR: We'll start with today's Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series post‑race media availability for the 58th annual Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500. We are now joined by today's runner‑up, Kyle Larson, driver of the No.42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing. Kyle, if there's anybody in this garage area who can make the high line work around a race tack, it's you. Walk through that final restart and how it played out.
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I can make the high line work at most tracks. Here at Atlanta, I don't do a good enough job up top. That's why I try to commit myself to the bottom throughout the race. There when I restarted the leader after our Christmas present we got there, and Brad lined up behind me, I knew he was going to be the one to beat.
I'd spent a lot of time around him throughout the race, especially on the short runs he was better than I was, and he would always pass me in 1 and 2. I knew I was going to have to try and take his line away. I tried a few times, and he finally kind of guessed where I was going right one lap and got to my inside.
Disappointed we didn't get the win, but we typically struggle really bad in the early races of the season, so to finish second this early in the year is awesome. We had a shot to win the 500 last week and a shot again today, so that's all you can ask for. Can't be more proud of everybody at our Chip Ganassi Racing team shop, Target, CreditOne Bank, all the other partners. So having fun.

Q. Kyle, kind of in two parts here, you mentioned you've struggled running the top at Atlanta, but you were stuck up there a couple of laps there before Brad got by you on the bottom. What pulled you up to the top? Was it the handling going away on the last run?
KYLE LARSON: No, like I said, I had spent a lot of time around him and he would always pass me up top in 1 and 2, so I knew that's where he was going to go. I believe he maybe attempted it a couple laps before he passed me, so I knew I was going to try and get the momentum rolling up there.
I was just trying to take his line, take his air away. Less downforce now I guess maybe the aerodynamics don't bother it as much. But he had a fast car throughout 1 and 2. He showed it yesterday in the XFINITY race and then today in the Cup race. Like I said, just had to kind of guess and try and hold him off as best I could, but he did a better job than me.

Q. You mentioned, too, the less downforce. What was your opinion of the new package here at Atlanta? Seemed like maybe we expected things to be a little more crazy, but for a lot of the day it was rather calm until you started hanging it out there the last 50 or so laps.
KYLE LARSON: Well, you can give us a ton of downforce and Atlanta is going to be tricky. Lower downforce doesn't really make it drive a whole lot different here, but I think as we get on to Vegas, Phoenix and Fontana, we're going to get a good idea of how it races and how it handles in traffic and all that.

Q. We had a number of drivers today who got nailed for speeding on pit road. Was that an issue for you guys with the timing and scoring lines, the scoring lines on pit road? Was that something that was addressed in the driver meeting? You weren't one of the people victimized, but how did that‑‑
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I stayed pretty cautious on my pit road lights because everybody was getting popped for speeding. I was very, very shocked that Kevin had gotten caught that last pit stop. I felt like me and Chase were closing on him down pit road, so I'd be interested to see kind of which segment he sped in, whether it was that first or last segment, but it had to be the first one.
But yeah, it was interesting. You know, my crew did a great job of reminding me every time I came down pit road to watch my speed because they had been catching everybody, so I would give a couple lights back.

Q. Did you notice any major differences between the 2016 downforce package and this year's downforce package?
KYLE LARSON: No, not yet. Like I said, Atlanta is a hard racetrack whether you have a lot of downforce or not a lot. We'll get a better idea the next couple races.

Q. Following up on the speeding penalties, do you think that's a case where so many guys got hit today? Is it a case of guys being rusty or teams not having things calibrated correctly yet? Do you have any thoughts on that?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it could be both of those. I don't know. I always try to be as‑‑ Chip always tells me to do the obvious things right, and number one on that list is don't speed on pit road. I try and run to the cautious side of things where you've got a lot of guys that push the limits and get caught every now and then.
I don't know, yeah, it could be rust, it could be this is the first time we'd been here with the new‑‑ all the extra timing lines, so maybe everybody's calibrations were off just a little bit. You never know, though. I guess I'll find out soon when they see the speeds.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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