Larson: ‘We’ve come a long way in a really short time’

Kyle Larson pre-race at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
Photo by Brian DeGruchy/The Racing Experts

By Dominic Aragon
May 29, 2016

CONCORD, N.C.—Entering Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Kyle Larson talked about the progress of his team in a press conference Thursday.

Larson and his No. 42 Chip Ganassi Racing team currently sit 21st in driver standings, 43 points behind the Chase cutline. The 23-year-old talked with The Racing Experts about if his runs the last two weeks provide he and his team more momentum or frustration.

“I guess you can be a little bit frustrated that we haven’t won the last few weeks of being close, but four weeks ago we couldn’t even run in the top-20 really, unless we got lucky; and never even thought about winning a race this year,” he said.

“And now, the last few weeks, we’ve come up just a little bit short; or, at least myself been frustrated, but we’ve come a long way in a really short time.”

Kyle Larson practices for the Coca-Cola 600 Thursday.
Photo by Ryan Willard/The Racing Experts

Larson finished second in the Sprint Cup Series’ last points-paying event at Dover May 15, leading three times for 85 laps. His finish resulted in a nine point gain on the Chase cutline with 13 races until NASCAR’s playoffs begin. According to Larson, crew chief Chad Johnson began to play a larger role in the building and development of the on track product. Leading to an increase in speed in recent weeks.

“I think Chad has gotten to put a little bit more of his own input into how he wants the bodies and stuff like that built,” he said.  

“I think when somebody new comes in it takes them a few months to build the confidence to make the calls like that.  To put their 100 percent input into it.  Lately, probably the last five weeks or six weeks or so he has gotten to do more steps of what he has done in the past or whatever and it’s showing up at the race track now.

Kyle Larson races during the Good Sam 500 at Phoenix International Raceway in March.
Photo by Brian DeGruchy/The Racing Experts

“You can see in Chad as well he has got a lot more confidence at the track, in the shop, on the radio and everything. Not, that he didn’t have any before, he is quiet, but the last few weeks he is not.  It’s been fun to see,” Larson added. Larson additionally said momentum can play a role in how a driver performs on the racetrack.

“With [performance] comes a lot of momentum; so hopefully we can keep that momentum going,” he said. “In the short time I’ve spent in this sport of NASCAR, but I’ve raced for a long time and I know that having that momentum and confidence is such a big part of running up front every week.

“We’re starting to get that momentum and confidence back in our race team and it’s showing, also, on the race track.”
How many wins will Kyle Larson score this season?
3 or more.
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