Kyle Larson comments on new found Hendrick speed; Rules for 2019; NASCAR CEO change
Ahead of the 2018 season, NASCAR introduced a new inspection system. The lasers and templates are out. In it’s place is an optical scanning station that points the entire race car.
Some teams were quicker than others to adapt to the new rules. Teams like Joe Gibbs Racing purchased a Hawkeye system for the shop which allowed them to max out the entire body to the spec.
Despite a change from the big change from the SS to the Camaro, Hendrick Motorsports was not one of those teams. Nor was Chip Ganassi Racing. Kyle Larson jumped out of the gate as the lead Chevy in 2018 season.
However, a few months ago Hendrick Motorsports purchased the Hawkeye machine for their Concord, North Carolina race shop. Now, the team has made up ground and is closing quickly on the front of the field.
Hendrick driver Chase Elliott picked up his first win at Watkins Glen International. Before that, he climbed through the field to win and battle up front in several few stages.
How are you feeling with your car as we head closer to the playoffs?
“I’d like to be making as big of gains as say what the Hendrick guys have. But, I feel like we started off way better than they did. So, they’ve had more room to get better,” Kyle Larson explained from the media center.
“They’ve kinda surpassed us a little bit the last few weeks. There’s obviously other teams that are better than us too.”
“We’re getting our stuff better, every week. We keep getting better and there’s some good tracks for us in the playoffs. If we can just get some luck in the playoffs maybe we can make a run at the championship.”
Hendrick has been better and there’s talk that they may have a next generation chassis or something. Have you seen that? And do the Chevy teams work together in the same way the Ford team do?
“No. We get to look at each others engine data and that’s about it. They do their thing and we do our thing.”
“You can definitely see that they’ve gotten a lot better here recently. Talking to the people on my team it sounds like they’ve got their Hawkeye system finally. Maybe a month and a half ago.”
“They’ve been able to learn where they can push the limits on things. It sounds like maybe we have a Hawkeye coming. I’m really excited about that. Hopefully, we can get it up and running before the playoffs start.”
“Yeah, we’re budget racing,” Larson says in an accent.
Rules for 2019
For 2019, NASCAR is considering sweeping changes to the sport. On the table is a restrictor plate and high downforce package. The package made it’s debut in the 2018 NASCAR All-Star race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Now, it’s been proposed for 13 races in 2009 at a bulk of the 1.5-mile tracks.
Do you like the way NASCAR’s possibly going with the package?
“I don’t know. I haven’t heard too much about the package. Other than it’s similar to what we ran at the All-Star race.”
“I grew up racing… And I still race cars with 950hp that weigh 1,400 lbs and the racing’s amazing.”
“I wanna go fast. I don’t wanna go slower to put on a good show. I don’t think our racing’s been bad at all this year. There’s been some good storylines and good hard racing.”
“I’m not an engineer and I don’t really know what it takes to make the best racing. But, I feel like we’re yet to try low downforce with high horsepower.”
“So, I’d like to see that before we go 5 seconds slower.”
What do you think of Jim France being placed in the CEO position?
“There’s so many people in this industry that want to see it succeed. I hope this is a good step to have a good change for us and get some good momentum back for our series.”