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March 19, 2017

Kyle Larson

Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.

Avondale, Arizona

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by today's fourth‑place finish in the Camping World 500, that's Ricky Stenhouse Jr., driver of the No.17 Fastenal Ford Fusion for Roush Fenway Racing.
Ricky, a gambling move on that last pit stop, and it paid off for you.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, Brian Pattie made a lot of adjustments overnight. We weren't that great during practice as far as speed goes. But I felt our car had good long run speed. It proved that today. I was glad we were able to get some long runs there. Actually, it wasn't as bad on restarts as I thought we were going to be.
There at the end, I thought Brian wanted us to stay out when the caution came out. I kind of second‑guessed him. Then when I told him everybody was coming down pit road, I already kind of committed to stay out and went with his gut instinct, and paid off.
They made the car better throughout the race. We stuck with it. We passed a lot of racecars today, and that made it fun.
THE MODERATOR: Questions for Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Q. It has been said that Roush's day was coming, not to give up on the team yet. You guys had made a lot of improvements over the winter. Can you talk a little bit about that. Have you seen a marked difference in the quality of your cars this year?
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Definitely seen a difference in the quality. We still got a long ways to go. But I think we've made a big improvement from last year, especially the end of last year.
Atlanta, we had a really good car. Got the right front fender tore off on the restart. Thought we were going to finish fifth to tenth, somewhere there. Vegas, I thought we had a 15th‑place car. We had an issue with the axle there at the end.
Then today I thought we had a good long run car, a 10th place car at best in the long run. We took a gamble and were able to get a better finish at the end.
I think our cars, the attitude at the shop, is really good. Trevor has some solid finishes over the first few races here. So that's something encouraging and something to build off of.
I feel like we've had speed. Just haven't got the finishes that I feel like the speed that we have. It's better to have the speed and figure out how to get the finishes.

Q. Can you talk about your bad luck that you've had.

Q. Any time that happens, like what happened here or Vegas, puts a team behind.
RICKY STENHOUSE JR.: Yeah, you know, there in Vegas, I mean, our car was really loose. We got really loose into turn one, had to bring out the backup car. But you know what, the good thing was is I thought our backup car was just as good as our primary car.
That's what the guys have been preaching at the shop, is to make sure that we're not only bringing the best cars to the racetrack that we can, but our backups are just as good. Because you got to be prepared for anything in this sport.
With had a brake issue there going into turn one, first lap of the first practice on Saturday. Luckily we were able to just get some minor damage. Five minutes we were back out on the racetrack logging laps.
Then the axles last week cost us probably 15, 20 spots. It's been some bad luck. But today was fun. I thought we made our car better throughout the race, which it's been a while since we've been that, so I was pretty happy.
THE MODERATOR: Ricky, congratulations on today's run. Best of luck next week at Auto Club.
We are now joined by Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points leader, Kyle Larson. He leads the standings by six points over Brad Keselowski.
Finishing second today in the Camping World 500 on a very hot and challenging day at Phoenix International Raceway, Kyle, it looked like a true challenge out there for everybody. Walk us through your challenge you faced today.
KYLE LARSON: It was hot for sure. The second half definitely got hot and the track got kind of slimy. My feet were getting kind of hot, but not that crazy. It didn't feel honestly that bad. The temperature reads really hot here, but it's a dry heat out here on the West Coast. A mid 90s day in North Carolina feels 20 degrees warmer.
But, yeah, you know, it was a fun race for us. We ran no worse than fourth I think all race. Was really happy about that. Challenged for the segment win there the first stage with Joey. That was a lot of fun. Finished second, I think, the second stage, too. Second overall.
A solid run for us. Wish we would have been the winners. I thought we were‑‑ I knew we were in the best spot. Just, yeah, turned across Ricky's nose and got sideways, killed both of our runs off of two, and allowed Newman to get out on us.
THE MODERATOR: We'll open up the floor for questions.

Q. Kyle, I think you said something coming into this race about how finishing second is never going to get old because it's pretty awesome and you can just do that all year, you'd be fine with it. At some point, you would think it would get old. Are you approaching that point yet?
KYLE LARSON: No. That long run there, before the end, when Kyle was leading, obviously he was way out in front, but I was satisfied with second. I would have been happy running second then than now, being our position on that restart.
Like I've been saying all of this early year, we've never had that speed. It's a lot of fun right now. I'm sure, you know, if I ran second for the next eight weeks, yeah, it's probably going to grow old. But, yeah, it's so cool to be one of the fastest cars every week. I feel like I've got a shot to win every week at a racetrack like here and Vegas where I don't normally run good, and challenge for wins. And Daytona, I suck on superspeedways.
It's been a lot of fun to start this year. I just hope we can continue to work hard, be consistent, be mistake‑free on pit road and on the racetrack.
If we can just keep doing that, the wins are going to come. I could easily have four wins right now. Just got to keep working hard.

Q. Four seconds in your last five starts. Anything you feel like is constant of what could be keeping you out of Victory Lane?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, I guess little mistakes or inexperience or whatever you want to call it. Yeah, like today, I should have just looked‑‑ hindsight is always 20/20. But I should have went a lane up in one and two. I should have known to just stay close to Newman. That's what I wish I would have done.
But, yeah, it's weird running all these seconds. It took me, like, three years to finish second in Sprint cars. Now I finish second like every week, so... A little weird, but maybe we'll turn them into wins soon.
THE MODERATOR: Kyle, congratulations again. Best of luck next week.

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