October 24, 2021
Kansas City, Kansas
An Interview with:
Q. Well, welcome to Victory Lane once again. They're going to rename all the Victory Lanes 'Kyle Larson Lane'. Sound good?
KYLE LARSON: I'm cool with it. I can't believe I'm in whatever lane you want to call it right now. It didn't look too promising with 50, 60 laps to go
Q. That's what I was going to ask. It seemed like your car got off a little bit or was it just the air and where you were at that time?
KYLE LARSON: Well, I felt like all race long I probably had a second- or third-place car. And then the 8 and I stayed out so we were a little bit off sequence on tires there. I tried to hold him off as long as I could. I made a couple of bad corners and fell to fifth. Got a little too impatient and got the wall off of 2.
And from then on was thinking let's just salvage the best we can. Hopefully a top 5. We put four tires on, they pulled the fenders a little bit, got a couple good restarts and here we are.
Q. Looking at today, there were challenges. You guys stayed out one time on tires, dropped back to fifth. There at the end, Kevin Harvick, I said first time you were sitting in the seat every time you looked in a mirror it's like somebody else was there. What was your biggest challenge today?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, you mentioned a lot of challenges. I felt like we didn't quite have the speed. I felt my handling was good, but I just didn't have the speed like I did last week at Texas so I was always constantly fighting people off.
The first stage really was the first time I didn't have to have pressure from anybody. But from then on William was really good. And there late I had some damage so I felt like I was even slower yet.
Harvick was really good. I felt like if I could keep him behind me until we got to the very top I'd be in a good spot. Chase was really fast at the end, but I saw him getting in the wall a couple times in the mirror.
Q. Kyle, I remember many years fans would always want to know is that wind affecting you. Talking about wind that wasn't like what this was today. We saw the majority of the problems that drivers have off of turn 2. Was that the tricky part where the wind was going and was it changing directions from your standpoint in the car?
KYLE LARSON: I didn't really feel like it changed directions. There is a big flag into 1, and most all of the day I think it was blowing from 1 to 2.
And, yeah, when we had that wind or rain or tornado delay, whatever it was, lightning delay, for 10 laps, the wind really picked up. And immediately I felt it. Like off of 2 I'd be okay, through the middle of 1 and 2, and then all of a sudden like somebody shoved my car out. I had to adjust that quickly.
Same thing into 3. It's like you couldn't arc it like you needed to. But I think the wind kind of calmed down a little towards the end and got a little better but it was still there for sure.
Q. You're not going to believe the points when you look at them. And I know you haven't looked at the points since about the third race of the season. But as you look at these eight competitors and you see a day like today, going in to Phoenix, who do you not want to be there? Who do you hope gets eliminated in the next week or so?
KYLE LARSON: Man, I looked at that kind of before this Round of 8 started. To me, like you can't pick one guy I think that you're like, Man, I hope they don't make it because you can make a strong case for all eight of us why we could go to Phoenix and win.
I feel like this may be the most even the top 8 would be in the Playoff format, especially at Phoenix.
So to me, it's kind of whoever makes it makes it. I think it's going to be equally tough for all of us
Q. I know that a short track like Martinsville coming up, there's going to be a lot of guys that feel like they have to win that race. But you've got nothing to do in going there. Is there anything to be learned from that? Or is it just a fact of momentum that you want for keep that on your side and go there and have another great race heading into Phoenix?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, definitely. I think we all know I struggle at Martinsville. So I'm hoping to go there though and have a good run and be happy with the run that I have, carry that momentum into Phoenix.
I mean, I'm going there thinking that we can win. We ran 5th there earlier in the year. It's just not been a track I'm comfortable at.
If we can go there, get another strong finish, hopefully a win and carry that into Phoenix, I'd be feeling great
Q. I heard you in the interview mention Rick and Linda Hendrick and the significance of this day. To win on this day, what does that mean to you and Hendrick Motorsports? I know it's got to mean the world to Rick and Linda.
KYLE LARSON: I haven't got to talk to Rick yet. But to lose your child and so many other people that were close to them that day, I can't imagine what the feeling may have been for everybody at Hendrick at that time.
So to come here 17 years to the date afterwards and win in this paint scheme with this number, it's just pretty surreal. So I wish I would have gotten the chance to meet all them. I've heard lots of good stories about Ricky. Wish I could have met him.
But cool to come here and get Rick that win. He texted me earlier today and he really wanted me to lead lap 5. And I was hoping I could do that and win. And we were able to do them both. So really cool.
And, too, I wanted to shout out to my wife Katelyn and her family. Her grandfather passed away yesterday. So we're thinking about all them
Q. So Dale and I have this thing where it's the HendrickCars.com and you know how you get a little card when you buy a thing of like a coffee and they stamp it. When you get 10 cups you get a free one. One more race and we get a free car from Hendrick Motorsports. So we're pulling for you. Can you do that for us?
KYLE LARSON: Well, we have 10 right now.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports