BROOKLYN, MICH. — While the talk of the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season so far has been the disadvantage the new Chevrolet Camaro has versus the Fords and the Toyotas, but defending Firekeepers Casino 400 winner Kyle Larson said Friday during media availability that he’s not buying it.
“I’ve never felt like Chevys have been at a disadvantage this year,” Larson said. “Our team has been pretty solid every race. I think some of the teams maybe just use it as an excuse where we don’t do that.”
After 14 races this season, Larson has five top-five finishes and nine top-10s. He has yet to get a win. Last year Larson was coming into the June MIS race with a victory at Auto Club Speedway.
“Obviously I don’t think we’re as fast as we were at this point last year, but I don’t think we’re that far off either,” Larson said. “Honestly, I feel like maybe we’re kind of where we were at last year, just other teams are a little bit better.”
If Larson wins Sunday, he will become only the second driver in the 50-year history of the track to win four Cup Series races in a row. But he said that isn’t on his mind at this point.
“I don’t really think about it,” Larson said. “It’s honestly just another race to me. I think it’d hit me, I think the importance of it and I would really feel how special it is when we’re standing in victory lane after the race. I think everything before that though, I try not to focus on it or worry about it. Just go out there and do what we do as a team and try to get a win.”
That being said, Larson said it would be special to tie a record set by Bill Elliott with four in a row.
“For sure it’d be special if we did get that fourth win, and then I think you’d start thinking about breaking that record of getting five in a row,” he said. “But there’s no guarantees that we’re going to win this weekend. I would say this one would be tougher than any of them just looking at how fast those three guys (Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr.) are right now.”
Larson said he is optimistic how the season has been so far and added the team continues to improve.
“We’re making our cars better every week,” he said. “The guys in the shop are really excited about every car that we’ve been bringing to the track because there’s little things that have made them better each week. That’s exciting. I feel like the engine department with Hendrick engines, I don’t think we’re lacking there at all. They’re doing a really good job. We just have to get probably some more downforce and just overall performance and at least the 42 team will be right there competing for wins.”
The Firekeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway is Sunday. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will qualify at 4:10 p.m. Friday.