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NASCAR MEDIA CONFERENCE
February 6, 2013
THE MODERATOR:Â Good morning, everyone.Â Welcome to today's NASCAR teleconference.Â We are joined by Kyle Larson, driver of the No.32 Chevrolet for Turner Scott Motorsports.Â He is the 2012 NASCAR K&N Pro Series East champion and will open the season withe the UNOH Battle At the Beach at Daytona International Speedway February 18th and 19th and will compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series in 2013.
We are also joined by Chip Ganassi and Harry Scott Jr. of Turner Scott Motorsports.
Kyle, how does winning the first championship for the NASCAR Drive for Diversity program give you a jumping off point for a full‑time NASCAR Nationwide Series campaign?
KYLE LARSON:Â I think it helped a lot.Â It helped get my name out there even more.Â To win a championship in the NASCAR level is really good.Â To be the first one for the Diversity Program means a lot, too.Â I really think it helps give me a ride this year in the Nationwide Series and I'm really looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR:Â Chip, if you give us a few comments on when you first found Kyle and the timeline of the events up to this point.
CHIP GANASSI:Â We've been working with Kyle for a couple years now.Â He came on our radar screen through some people that work for us.Â Seems like a great young man with plenty of racing at that time, plenty of raw talent.Â It was just a matter of finding the right situations for him along the way.
It's going to be a continual effort for the next few years to do that and hopefully we can bring his career into NASCAR in a way that he and everyone else will be most proud of.
THE MODERATOR:Â Harry, if you could talk a little bit about what it means for Kyle to join Turner Scott Motorsports.
HARRY SCOTT, JR.:Â We're very happy to welcome him back for 2013.Â We very much appreciate the opportunity that Chip has afforded us to work with him again.
We did have an opportunity to work with him last year in four Truck races with us.Â He ran Kentucky, Atlanta, Phoenix and Homestead, and was able to get three top 10s out of those races, a best finish of second at Phoenix.
We're really excited about pairing him with Trent Owens, our veteran crew chief and his team, and looking forward to giving him the platform to hone his skills and be as successful as possible.
THE MODERATOR:Â We will now go to the media for questions.
Q.Â Chip, can you talk about the decision to put him in Nationwide this year.Â I assume you were trying to decide whether he runs a mix of things, full Truck.
CHIP GANASSI:Â That's a good question.
It's always the question:Â Where do you bring a guy?Â When a guy is coming up, what series do you punch him into or what is best?Â Do you go Truck/Nationwide or straight to Nationwide?
The good news is I think Kyle has shown an uncanny ability to really drive anything put under him so far.Â I think he'll be just fine in Nationwide.
We talked to Harry.Â This is more than a one‑year deal with Turner Scott Motorsports.Â We just feel it was the right year to put him in that series.
We feel that he's certainly capable of it.Â I don't think we're rushing him along or anything like that.Â Like I said, he's shown great ability in anything he's driven so far.
Q.Â How quickly would you I wouldn't say rush him along, but is there a possibility of Cup races this year or next year if he runs well?
CHIP GANASSI:Â I don't want to get ahead of ourselves here.Â He hasn't even run a Nationwide race yet.Â Let's just go one step at a time here.
All we're doing is looking to get him some seat time.Â Right now his solid plan involves Nationwide.
Q.Â Are you going to keep him just Nationwide or is he open to run various USAC races and the like?
CHIP GANASSI:Â I've never kept guys from doing that at this stage of their career.Â I don't look to start dictating what he can and can't do.Â I think that's kind of dangerous when you have a young horse that needs to run.Â He needs to get all the seat time he can in different cars.
I think as your career grows, I think last year he did 120 races, I'd be surprised if that continues to be 120 races a year going forward, but he's going to have some new things coming at him in Nationwide.
He's shown to be very mature.Â But he's going to go through a learning process of sorts.Â A lot of things are going to be coming at him that maybe he wasn't so concerned about when he was running Midgets or Sprint cars.
He's going to be obviously dealing with media a lot more, dealing with sponsors and things and people like you.Â Those are all things that take time.Â Something can be new like that for a young man, so he's got a lot of learn.Â Maybe I would hope he would cut that 120 back a little bit.
Q.Â Chip, I think it's fair to say that of people getting rides, there are some high expectations.Â Could you speak to managing the expectations and what a good opportunity this is with him.Â And, Kyle, if you could speak to that as well, managing your expectations.Â This is a well‑received opportunity.
CHIP GANASSI:Â I kind of just got every other word of your question.Â Can you give it to me one more time.
Q.Â I was asking you about managing expectations.Â Certainly he is considered to be somebody that everybody is really excited and has very high expectations about.
CHIP GANASSI:Â Yeah, I think a car owner's job, number one, is managing expectations, whether it's your drivers, sponsors, employees.Â That's kind of what car owners do a lot of, is managing people's expectations.
There's no question that everybody's eyes are going to be on Kyle and the job that he's doing.Â I think that's why we thought it was important to get him with a first‑class team like Harry Scott and Steve Turner, get him with those guys.Â That's what he needs.Â We really want to do it right.
We talked to some other teams, and they were good teams.Â We didn't feel it was probably in our best interest to do it ourselves.Â Obviously Nationwide, we have our hands full doing what we're doing.Â We're not interested in doing it ourselves.Â We were willing to give him the best shot.Â If you're going to give him the best shot, you have to get him with the best team.
Q.Â And, Kyle, could you speak about that as well.Â Everyone has very high hopes for you.Â That has to be a blessing but something you have to manage and figure out where to set the bar.
KYLE LARSON:Â Yeah, I know I have a lot of pressure on me.Â I try not to pay attention to it at all.Â Racing is what I love.Â It's more of a hobby than anything.Â I try to go out, do the best I can.Â I don't really try to read articles about me, listen to what people might have to say.
It's always good to have people talking about me and putting pressure on me 'cause if I live up to it, it just makes the story so much better.
Q.Â Kyle, you're a young guy, but what are your first memories of racing as a kid?
KYLE LARSON:Â I've been going to races all my life.Â I don't remember this, but my family took me to my first Sprint car race when I was a week old.
I'd have to say I was probably about four years old when I started remembering going to races at Chico and Placerville Speedway as a kid, sitting on my mom's lap, teaching me about the flags, when yellow flags would come out she would teach me about that.
My first memory of driving a go‑kart, my dad built me a car when I was four years old.Â I remember I ran it into a tree.Â That's my first memory of driving a go‑kart.
Q.Â Chip, obviously you have a good racing eye for driving talent.Â What skills and qualities do you see in Kyle that match your choices in the past?
CHIP GANASSI:Â You'll probably be surprised by this answer, but all these kids are fast.Â They all have the talent.Â If given the right opportunity, they can all do well in the sport coming up.Â You look to his parents, what kind of people they are, what kind of upbringing he had.Â Is he stable in his thought.Â That usually comes from a stable household.
You really want guys that understand the sport, that have been in the sport for a long time, not looking for a piece of Hollywood, not looking to be on TMZ at night, just guys that respect the sport and appreciate it and come from a good, solid background with their family.
Q.Â Harry, what do you see in Kyle?Â Obviously he's got the talent, like Chip is saying.Â What do you see that you like?
HARRY SCOTT, JR.:Â I think Chip stated it very well.Â I've had an opportunity to get to know Kyle a little bit, to get to know his father.Â I haven't met his mother yet.
As he said, racing is a hobby for him.Â It's not work.Â He loves doing it.Â He gets along really well with all of our guys.Â He has a humility about him, but it's not shrouded by his confidence.
He's a really fine young man with an incredible level of talent.
The challenge for us and the challenge for him is for him to maintain that attitude and maintain his outlook as he improves and he moves through.
Q.Â Kyle, what are some of your goals you'd like to accomplish this year in the NASCAR Nationwide Series?
KYLE LARSON:Â I feel like I'm with a really good team with Turner Scott Motorsports.Â I'd like to win at least a race or two, hopefully contend for the championship.Â If I could finish in the top five in points at the end of the year, lead some laps, win a race, I think those are pretty good goals to set.
I do think we can accomplish them.Â We've been testing a couple times and I feel like the cars drive really nice, have a lot of speed.
It's going to be a really tough season.Â There's a lot of good talent.Â I think it's by far one of the toughest years it's ever had.Â It's going to be fun to race with those guys and I'm going to learn a lot.Â Hopefully at the end of the year I'm a lot better than where I am at Daytona.
Q.Â Chip, how much does it help you as an owner and a person to help Kyle and these younger drives coming into NASCAR?
CHIP GANASSI:Â You know, we were all young one time.Â When you're Kyle's age, you're loaded with talent, you're invincible, but somewhere along the line, I remember when I was his age, there were people helping me.Â There were people that helped my career along.Â They all know who they are out there.Â You never really forget those people in the back of your mind no matter what you attain in racing.Â No matter what level you get to, you always remember the people that helped you get started, helped you when you were younger.Â That's kind of what I think of.
Any win that our team has ever had, any successful season we've ever had is standing on the foundation of these people that helped me when I was younger.Â So it's nice to give back to the sport that's given so much to me, to help young guys along.Â That's what keeps us all young, I guess, huh?
Q.Â Harry, what are you most looking forward to in 2013?
HARRY SCOTT, JR.:Â Well, as it relates to this program, Kyle, the opportunity that we have here, I really think it's going to be a rewarding experience.Â I think very few people in racing get to watch a driver like Kyle kind of flourish and grow and be a part of that.
Chip mentioned we're trying to make this a multi‑year deal.Â We feel like we've got enough time that we can take our time with Kyle, we can try to give him the opportunity he needs in order to move on to the next level in his career.
That in itself is going to be rewarding.Â It's not how many trophies he ends up with.Â What I'm looking forward to is just watching him grow.
Q.Â Harry, at Daytona I assume he has to qualify on time to get into the first Nationwide race to get all of this going.
HARRY SCOTT, JR.:Â No, sir.Â He'll have points.Â What he does have to do in order to be eligible to run the Nationwide race at Daytona is he'll have to run the ARCA race the preceding Saturday.Â If he runs well the ARCA race, NASCAR is satisfied he can run safely in the Nationwide race, hopefully they'll approve him for that.Â That's the main hurdle.
Q.Â Chip, Kyle talked about his expectations for the coming season.Â I was wondering what your expectations are for him.
CHIP GANASSI:Â Yeah, I think they're pretty much aligned.Â I think he ought to be able to lead some laps, win a race or two, be in the top five in the end.Â Pretty much in line with what he's thinking about.
Q.Â Kyle, where specifically do you think you need to improve as you grow?Â What areas do you have that you feel like, Here is what I need to learn to compete with the competition we're going to see this season in Nationwide?
KYLE LARSON:Â They're a lot longer races than what I'm used to.Â I definitely have to work on staying patient and saving my stuff for the end of the race.Â You need to work on pit stops because you can gain a few spots with a yellow.Â Need to work on that a little bit.Â I came over to the shop here last week and did some pit stop training and feel like I learned a lot.
Those are just a couple things that I'll develop as the year goes on and get better.
Q.Â Kyle, could you speak a little bit more about how the Drive for Diversity program, how you feel like it helped you for this opportunity.
KYLE LARSON:Â Well, I ran those late‑model races at New Smyrna last year, but that was really like my first time in stockcar racing.Â It helped develop me and learn the different type of racing because it's a lot different than Sprint car racing.
As a driver, I think it's going to help me for this season.Â I got to go to a few tracks that we'll be onto this year.Â Winning a championship for the NASCAR Diversity Program is only beneficial for me.Â Like I said, I just think it helps get my name out there more, get more exposure for me, which is good for Chip Ganassi and good for myself and will open doors for me in the future.
Q.Â Kyle, as far as your goals go, how you handle your goals, like a lot of drivers do, you take it one race at a time and the most important race is the next race?Â Is that kind of your scheme also?
KYLE LARSON:Â Yeah, pretty much.Â Like you said, every race is important.Â You want to do the best you can in each and every race.Â You never want to get behind.Â Just makes it tougher on you.
Every week, just try to go out and do the best I can and try to finish in the top 10 in each race and log as many laps as I can.Â Each lap is just going to help me develop as a driver.Â I'm going to need that since I'm really young and hopefully be in a sport a long time.Â Just try to develop as much as I can this year and do better in the future.
THE MODERATOR:Â Thank you to Kyle, Chip and Harry for joining us today.Â We wish you the best of luck in the 2013 season.