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September 16, 2018

Kyle Larson

Martin Truex, Jr.

Las Vegas, Nevada

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our second‑place finisher, Kyle Larson, driver of the No.42 DC Solar Vegas Strong Chevrolet. We will open it up to questions for Kyle.

Q. Kyle, the restart when you went three wide to take the lead, what gave you the confidence to think that could work?
KYLE LARSON: I mean, you're trying to find clean air on the nose of your car, so I mean, I didn't really expect to get to the lead. I was just trying to get clean air on my nose, and it happened‑‑ the run timed out perfectly where I could get to his right rear quarter and kind of slow him down a little bit. So honestly, that wasn't even‑‑ I guess it's a thought before the restart, but I didn't think‑‑ I was just trying to kind of shove him out to the lead, and then I never really got to his bumper, so the run just kind of worked out where I was able to go around him, and I needed it to stay green there. I felt like I could have won the race right there because he was really good on the short run and I was terrible on short runs today, but once I could get the top going, I was really good, and I was‑‑ right when I moved up top in 3 and 4 and pulled away, the caution came out. I felt like I was going to be able to stretch it.
I felt like the 78 would probably get by him at some point and then maybe chase me down. I knew if I could hold Brad off for a little bit, I would have a good shot, but it didn't work out. And then we had a ton of restarts there; a couple of them worked out for me, a couple of them didn't, and thankfully the last one worked out and we were able to get to second.

Q. Can you kind of describe what it was like for you out there? The race lasted a lot longer than it normally would, a lot of cautions and red flags at the end. What was it like to go through all that with the heat?
KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, it honestly wasn't too bad in the car I didn't think. It's nice being out here with no humidity. I mean, my hair wasn't even sweaty when I got out. It wasn't too bad. The red flag got a little hot, but nowhere near like some of the races in the Midwest that we run, or Chicago was terrible. Yeah, I did glance in the stands, and it stinks that the sun beats on them all race. The stands were pretty packed before the race, and then there that red flag, it looked like they were pretty thin. But it was so hot. I felt like it was hotter in the sun probably than it was for us in the car. Just a hot day, but hot days make for great racing. I thought the track was awesome. For us to be able to run next to the wall and all over the place was a lot of fun.
I wish we could run more races here in the heat.

Q. You said the other day that your outlook would be good if you could eliminate the bad luck. Did you feel like when you had that tire problem the bad luck was occurring again, and is your luck changing that you were able to rebound and do so well today?
KYLE LARSON: We're only one week in, so I'm sure bad luck will creep up eventually. I mean, that was bad luck, but it was also good luck at the same time that it happened off of the corner down the backstretch and not into Turn 3. The tire didn't come apart and tear the car up. I knew when we came back out and only lost a lap, it was going to work out pretty quickly, and it worked out, I mean, perfectly. We lost that lap, took the wave‑around, got back to the lead lap, went under caution like four laps later.
So it sucked that we lost stage points there. I felt like I probably would have got eight or nine points that stage and then who knows about the next stage, maybe eight to ten more, maybe less. I lost out on a lot of points today because of the track position that we lost. So yeah, could have been a lot worse, that tire problem. But we did lose out on a lot of points there.

Q. That being said, though, I think there were nine guys or 11 guys who had trouble today. Knowing that you came in with so few playoff points and now came out with a second place finish, do you feel more comfortable looking through the first round now?
KYLE LARSON: I don't know, I feel like you only want a few guys to have bad finishes. You don't want a group of them because then it allows them to have‑‑ the guys who had problems have a little less stress because they're all kind of bunched together with not a lot of points.
But I haven't even seen the points. I don't know what it looks like. But we had a decent day. I felt like with those stage points that we lost out on, there was probably guys that we ran better than that still gained more points than we did today. So that stinks, but we had a good finish, so that was nice.
THE MODERATOR: We're also joined by our third‑place finisher, Martin Truex Jr., driver of the No.78 5‑Hour Energy Toyota.

Q. Kyle, the tire went out first, but after you replaced the tires, did you feel the grip of the tires really getting loose and wearing out real quick?
KYLE LARSON: I don't know. There for a minute, I thought the track freed up, and then I thought it was getting tighter and tighter throughout the race, the last half or so. I don't know. It was hot.

Q. Is there any theory or explanation for why this was such a crazy wild card‑ish type race when it's just a normal mile‑and‑a‑half in theory?
KYLE LARSON: I'll let Martin answer. My tire ran out of talent. It looked like the 4's tire ran out of talent, and then I'm not sure what‑‑ I don't know who all had issues, what issues they had, but it seemed like a lot of people had issues. Yeah, I don't know. I guess all the red playoff cars, that's a bad deal. Hopefully that doesn't happen to me next week.

Q. For both of you, the big three obviously dominated up until now six races ago. Has the worm turned? Martin, obviously you're one of the big three. For each of you, do you feel like now the big three is scrambling to get back to being the big three?
KYLE LARSON: I felt like the 18 struggled here the last few weeks. I'm sure they're trying stuff. Maybe not, I don't know. Martin was really strong today. I felt like he just needed to stay green and he had the best car. Harvick was a little off of Martin, and then Brad again was really fast, especially on the short runs. And then I felt like I was kind of right there, also. Didn't really get to show it much there until the end, but the 18 is definitely off their game a little bit right now, but they'll be able to sprinkle some fairy dust and figure it out.
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Yeah, I mean, I think the big three talk is cool for the regular season, but when it comes to the playoffs, the big four are going to make the Final Four, so that's the only thing that matters at that point. We can talk all we want about who did great in the regular season, but at the end of the day, we're here to win a championship, and at the end of the season, the four best guys will be at Homestead, and hopefully we're there.

Q. Kyle, did you have any other tire issues beyond the one that you had today that we saw?
KYLE LARSON: No, I don't think so. That first set that we had on, they said looked perfect. I was kind of shocked when we‑‑ we must have cut it. I was running the top, and that same corner that I had the issue, I had entered maybe four to six inches higher than I had any other lap, so maybe I ran something over. I'm not sure. It didn't sound like I did or anything like that. But once I got to exit and down the backstretch, I realized that my tire was flat, so I was able to get down pit road.

Q. For either of you, this is the third consecutive time this season somebody has won three races in a row, and this is supposed to be the most competitive sport around, just how good the competition is, so why is somebody able to win three in a row‑‑
MARTIN TRUEX JR.: Brad clearly found a horseshoe. Three races in a row he's won and he has not had the best car. I mean, if you want to really talk about the sport being what it is, you've got to look at that. I mean, obviously he hasn't led the most laps in any of those races, and he showed up at the end with good pit stops and good short run speed. I think clearly it's pretty obvious how it worked out. He's hot right now. He's on a streak. That's the way it goes.
We finished third with the best car. The last three weeks we had a top three car and we finished 14th or worse in every one of them; know what I'm saying? So it's a tough sport. A lot of things can happen, and momentum and luck being on your side, there's a lot to say for it. Obviously they're executing, they're doing all the little things right, and that's what it takes to win these things.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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