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Kyle Larson: I Feel Great Right Now

| , RacinToday.com Friday, April 3 2015
Kyle Larson says he feels fine and ready to return to driver's seat. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

Kyle Larson says he feels fine and ready to return to driver’s seat. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)


Kyle Larson, who fainted during an autograph session at Martinsville Speedway last Saturday, has been medically cleared to resume his NASCAR Sprint Cup Series career at Texas Motor Speedway next bugqaweekend.

Larson will return to the No. 42 Target Chevrolet SS fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates when practice for the Duck Commander 500 gets underway Friday morning (April 10) in Fort Worth. The compressed schedule will see Cup teams qualify late Friday afternoon for Saturday evening’s 334-lap/501-mile event around TMS’ 1.5-mile quadoval in Fort Worth.

Larson, 22, was first evaluated at a local hospital in Martinsville and later at a Charlotte hospital. While all tests came back negative, Larson underwent additional testing. He was replaced on the half-mile Martinsville oval by Regan Smith, who posted a lead-lap, 16th-place finish in the STP 500.

The 2014 Cup Rookie of the Year, Larson updated his condition during a national teleconference on Thursday. An edited transcript follows:

Q: Kyle, to start off, how are you feeling, and can you talk a little bit about what’s been going on the past few days?

KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I feel great right now, and I felt perfectly fine shortly after I fainted the other day. But yeah, I just had to get a lot of tests run on me to make sure nothing serious was wrong with me, and all the tests came back negative. Yeah, the whole time I felt fine, and hated it that I couldn’t race last weekend in the Target Chevy, but Regan did a really good job, and just got to thank all the doctors and nurses for how thorough they were with me.

Q: Kyle, I was wondering, what happened? I know you were at an autograph appearance, but did you not feel well? If you can, first, walk me through that, exactly what happened, and second, have they told you at all why you may have fainted?

KYLE LARSON: Well, I felt fine before we went to the autograph session. I got through to the end of it, and I was just talking to one more fan, the last person there really, and just started getting light-headed and tried to lean forward and maybe see if that fixed it, and then I passed out.

I don’t know, it was just kind of a weird morning just because I was almost late to practice, so I just rushed myself that morning and didn’t take very good care of myself throughout the day and just ended up dehydrating myself. Just got to do a better job of taking care of myself, and that should never happen again.

Q: Kyle, similar question, I guess. Sometimes when you don’t hear a definitive answer, that can be as confusing. Does it sound like it was just a matter of staying hydrated and maybe eating more? Where do you kind of go forward from here? And secondly, how scary was it?

KYLE LARSON: One of the first things they thought it was was dehydration, so they just ran a bunch of tests, like tons of tests on me just to make sure nothing else was wrong with my body. It all kind of circled back to just being dehydrated.

Yeah, I mean, I got nervous a couple times throughout. Any time you’re in a hospital you get nervous. But I was confident everything was fine, and it turned out where everything in the end was fine. Like I said, just got to make sure I hydrate myself throughout the day better than I did that day.

Q: So did the doctors just keep you out because they were worried that you would faint again? And what was it like to be told you can’t race?

KYLE LARSON: I don’t know if they kept me out because they thought I would faint again. I think they just wanted _ like I said, they wanted to make sure there was nothing seriously wrong with me, so they took their time and pretty much ran every test possible, I think, on me to make sure I was OK. All the tests that I took, they took a lot of time. That’s the main reason why I wasn’t able to get there for Sunday’s race was just that there was a lot of tests to be run.

Q: And I guess what was it like for you to…again, you were feeling fine and yet they’re telling you can’t race?

KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I mean, it sucks any time you can’t race, but I was happy that they were taking the time to make sure there wasn’t anything major wrong. I wasn’t upset too badly that I had to miss the race, and I guess if there’s a race you’ve got to miss, Martinsville is my least favorite track. But yeah, I would have loved to have been there. We had a really good car all weekend long. But in the end Regan did a really good job for our Target team.

Q: I know you talked about feeling fine throughout this, but what kind of things ran through your mind as the doctors were testing and looking and trying to eliminate things? Did it get to the point of you thinking that it’s potentially the end of your career, or is it just something as simple as this is a pain in the butt today, I wish they’d get it over with?

KYLE LARSON: No, you know, I pretty much stayed positive through the whole thing. I never thought anything was wrong with me because I felt fine while I was sitting in the hospital. Just was looking forward to when I could finally get out, looking forward to the last test that they had to run so I could get out of there. But yeah, I was never nervous about it being the end of my career or out for a while or anything like that. I had it pretty much set in my mind that I was OK.

I think the doctors kind of knew what all was going on, they just wanted to, like I said, run every test that they could just to make sure they could scratch everything off the list.

Q: I heard from Felix that he thought maybe you had never been in the hospital before. Obviously, when you were born, but you’ve never really had any issues at your young age before. Is this the first time you were in the hospital? And then how did you watch the race on Sunday? You heard the TV people talking about you in the booth and whatnot. What was it like on Sunday to watch the race, and how did you watch it?

KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I think that’s the first time I’ve ever been in the hospital for myself. Katelyn (his girlfriend), she’s had a couple _ one issue with her appendix where we had to spend a few days in the hospital with her, but that was the first time for me, so it was a different seat in the room. But I watched the race _ I don’t know where the rumor got started, but I did have FOX Sports 1 in my room, so I was able to watch the race, and I had the NASCAR app pulled up on our iPad and was able to listen to our team communicate still.

I felt like I was there, and then we also had the IndyCar race on another channel, too. I was able to switch back and forth and watch all of Chip’s teams compete.

Q: And did the doctors tell you for a fact that you were dehydrated and that was it, which you would think they would catch early-on, or is that just what you surmise because they didn’t find anything else?

KYLE LARSON: Well, like I said, one of the first things they had mentioned was probably that I was dehydrated. That was in the Martinsville hospital. But yeah, they just wanted to be careful and run more tests and make sure it wasn’t anything serious. Yeah, I think for the whole time I had it in my head that I was probably just dehydrated, and I think they did, too. They just wanted to be careful.

Q: In the first release we got from Ganassi they said that you were going to be seen by a neurologist and then Felix said they were doing some kind of cardiovascular tests. If you’re comfortable, can you tell us what other things they tested?

KYLE LARSON: Yeah, I don’t know what specific things they tested me for, but I had stuff hooked up to me from my head to my toes, really. Probably the only test they didn’t get in there was a math test. Yeah, I ran a few tests every day. Like I said, I don’t know specifically which tests I got, but I did get a lot of them, and everything came back negative, too, which was good.

Q: If you were to faint again at a racetrack, would you do the same thing, or would there be a way to get these tests done maybe more quickly so that could be determined before race-time?

KYLE LARSON: I’m not sure. Hopefully I never pass out again so I don’t have to go through it.

Q: Were you scared when it happened? Were you scared, bewildered? In the moment at Martinsville, what was your thought process?

KYLE LARSON: Well, I mean, it took me a few minutes to figure out what all had happened, and then I started piecing it all together. I don’t know, I never get scared or excited about anything, so I wasn’t too scared. I was just hoping I could get released in time to race. Yeah, I mean, there might have been a couple times I was nervous _ maybe once. But other than that, I was fine the whole time.


| , RacinToday.com Friday, April 3 2015
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