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July 8, 2017

Chase Elliott

Kyle Larson

Sparta, Kentucky

THE MODERATOR: We have Chase Elliott, driver of the No.24 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports. Chase, you finished third today, moved up a spot in the points to fifth place. Talk about the race out there and moving up a spot in the points.
CHASE ELLIOTT: Yeah, we had a solid night. I would say it wasn't perfect, it wasn't phenomenal, but it was a well executed night on pit road and on that last restart, I thought, so that was nice and came home with a solid top 5.
THE MODERATOR: We will continue our post‑race press conference for today's Quaker State 400 with the second‑place finishing driver, driver of the No.42 Target Chevrolet for Chip Ganassi Racing, and that's Kyle Larson. Still our points leader by one right now. Kyle, it was a really fun race to watch you specifically come through the field twice. Can you talk about that and the ability of your car to do that and pass all those cars all day long?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, we had a good car. We weren't able to qualify, didn't pass tech, but knew we'd be all right. I felt like I could roll through 3 and 4 good in practice, and I felt like that would be the place to pass. Turned out to be that way in the race, and cruised to the front the first time, got to third at the end of that first stage, sped on pit road, had to go to the back again. A little bit tougher to get through the field that next time. We were on‑‑ there was a wreck, I think, when Brad had wrecked in 3 and 4, and I had to lock it down, came down, had to put scuffs on, and then my balance was just different that run and that led us all the way to the end of that second stage. Was able to get to sixth and then had to restart and fell back, I think, to 11th and pitted at the end of the second stage and had to restart 14th or so, maybe worse than that, and had to just slowly pick off cars.
Got to second, and then, yeah, finished second. Good race. Car was fast. Wish we could have competed with Martin, but he was obviously extremely fast today. We all have some work to do to keep up with him.

Q. Even before the race, you felt confident that your car could get back into contention despite starting at the back, and that seemed to bear out several times during the race as you kind of overcame adversity. Do you kind of wonder what might have been if you were able to start near the front, or do you feel like you got the effort that you wanted?
KYLE LARSON: I wish‑‑ you know, I wish I would have not fallen back on that restart before the end of the second stage. I lost quite a bit of track position, had to restart, I think, four or five rows behind Truex and Kyle Busch. So if I could have restarted a row or two behind them, maybe I could have been aggressive on the restart and made some things happen to get in front of him and kind of try and set the pace, but just judging off of lap times and stuff, I don't think it would have been easy to hold him off. Martin was super fast and been really, really fast all year long. I think we've been second best to him, but he's in a whole other league right now.

Q. Kyle, I think this was the third time you guys didn't make a qualifying attempt. I think you were the last car off the inspection grid tonight. NASCAR has talked about maybe reducing tire allotments for multiple inspection failures. Is that something your team is weighing at all, or do you feel like this is kind of what you guys have to do to be able to have fast cars?
KYLE LARSON: I don't know. You know, I like that Chad and them pushed the limits and all that. I don't really know how the tech process works, and I don't know what we get in trouble with. I don't really pay attention to that stuff. Yeah, I mean, if they took tires away, that would be a huge penalty, so you're going to have to clean it up a little bit to try and pass tech earlier than the fourth or fifth time you go through.
But yeah, I mean, I like that‑‑ I like the dedication that our team has to try and push the limit, and I think it shows on the racetrack.

Q. Speaking of pushing the limit, that bonsai move you made on Kyle Busch, he called you an (expletive), and I know you're not apologetic for anything, but you know, are you just going to keep up this style of kind of no‑holds‑barred style of racing and kind of let the chips fall where they may?
KYLE LARSON: I don't even know when he called me an (expletive), so...

Q. (Inaudible).
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don't know. But I don't care. It doesn't matter to me. Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words will never hurt me.
THE MODERATOR: So for the record, Bill Janitz, Kyle Busch's representative, the (expletive) was not to Kyle Larson.

Q. Do you feel like you could have had something for the Toyota camp if you were able to make a qualifying attempt?
KYLE LARSON: It's hard to say. Yeah, I don't know. It's hard to say. We finished second, so there's only one spot better I could be, and Martin was way faster than the rest of us, so it's hard to say.

Q. I'm sure this is something that you don't think about in the middle of it, but can you kind of encapsulate this week? You win every night when you're on a dirt track, get involved in a quasi controversy on social media, come here, start at the back, finish second, have all these problems during the race. Did it seem as tumultuous for us as it looked from the outside?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, it was an entertaining‑‑ a lot of fun I had this week. Went to Pennsylvania, where I haven't ran good in the past and was able to get three wins out of four nights, which was really, really cool, something I'm extremely proud of. Then yeah, the social media stuff, that was kind of a bummer because I didn't intend for my comments to get taken that way, but after I had read it and I understood the mistake I had made in wording it. I should have worded it a lot different because I love my fans, and there's not very many other people out there that are as personable as me, fan friendly, open to signing autographs as me. My tweet didn't come across right, so hopefully they forgive me someday. And yeah, then finishing second here today was good. You know, my three wins, a second, and an 11th, pretty decent week.

Q. Kyle, how was the track, second repave? Did it race like it did last year? Was it better? How would you describe the track?
KYLE LARSON: I thought 1 and 2 was changing during the race, getting a little bit wider, not quite a second groove wide, but it was opening up a half groove or so. So I started moving up a little bit and finding more speed. 3 and 4 the entry was changing quite a bit into 3 so you could arc your corner to help your exit some. So I mean, my car was good, so I had fun. I could see how it was probably frustrating for other people, but I thought the racing was okay. For sure it was hard to pass at times. There was a couple times I think I caught Clint early in the race, couldn't get by him, and then I was stuck behind Joey and Kevin for a while, but we were able to get by them. So yeah, repaves are just always tough to pass on.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks a lot, Kyle. Appreciate it.

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