KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WAS THE 2004 RACE HERE WHEN YOU LED 207 OF THE FIRST 267 LAPS OF THE RACE YOUR MOST DOMINANT HERE AT LOWE'S? "I always thought that it was my most dominant performance here. The car handled so well...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WAS THE 2004 RACE HERE WHEN YOU LED 207 OF THE FIRST 267 LAPS OF THE RACE YOUR MOST DOMINANT HERE AT LOWE'S? "I always thought that it was my most dominant performance here. The car handled so well that night. There wasn't anybody that could even stay on the same side of the race track as us -- including Jimmie Johnson -- and that's when he was the guy to beat here. For some reason it was awesome that night. We run for two or three laps with (Jimmie) Johnson and Dale Jr. (Earnhardt) and then 30 laps later, you couldn't even see either of them. It was probably the most dominating car that I've ever had here. The car did everything perfect."
CAN A DRIVER 'FEEL' THE RACE TRACK AND KNOW THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE COMPETITIVE?
"You can by the way that the car handles on the race track. Yeah, you feel that usually right away in practice. You either feel that you have a competitive racecar or that you have work to do to make the car faster. From there, the first couple laps of the race it's always a big question mark. Once you run three or four laps you're like, 'We're going to have a shot tonight.' You know how competitive you are going to be as soon as you get inside the racecar."
HOW DOES CONFIDENCE WORK FOR A DRIVER? "Confidence is just good for everybody. Confidence keeps everyone excited and builds a positive mindset on the team."
CAN A LACK OF CONFIDENCE WORK AGAINST YOU? It can work against you if you don't have it. When you lose confidence and you're down a little bit or your team is down, it just becomes a distraction and everyone worries about what 'isn't' going right instead of what 'is' going right. It definitely can work for and against you."
SO IT'S SAFE TO SAY THAT YOU HAVE PLENTY OF CONFIDENCE RACING HERE? "That's for sure. When you've been successful at a track like we have here at Lowe's, you gain a sense of confidence because you understand where to be successful on the racetrack. You still need a good car, but confidence does give you a sense of comfort inside of the racecar."
SO DOES CONFIDENCE AFFECT YOUR DRIVING STYLE? "A little bit. You still have to figure out the race track, your racecar and how well your car unloaded. I like to run the bottom line, but if I can't run down low, it's not like I lose confidence and feel that I won't be able to win the race. Do you have more confidence running a particular line and build confidence of off that? Yes. But you also have to figure out where your car drives best and not let anything else affect how you attack the race track."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR THE No. 9 TEAM TO WIN HERE IN CHARLOTTE? "To get a win here would be huge for everybody involved -- Gillett Evernham, Budweiser, Dodge....it would be big for everyone. I think to sweep all the Charlotte races in the same season would be huge as well. It's never been done before and I think that it would be a great shot in the arm -- especially right in the middle of the Chase. To know that no other team, driver, sponsor or anybody has done it but you would be really special. We could say that we were the first ones and that's pretty cool."
YOU'VE BEEN REALLY GOOD AT LOWE'S, YET AVERAGE ON OTHER 1.5-MILE TRACKS; ANY PARTICULAR REASON THAT YOU CAN PINPOINT THE INCONSISTENCY? "I'm not really sure. Track that are similar to Lowe's, we've been able to apply some things that we've learned and have been successful. For the other banked mile-and-a-half tracks, we just haven't hit on the combination needed to be really strong. We have to go back to Atlanta and Texas and then on to Homestead -- tracks that we've struggled at and haven't been as consistent as we need to be. The good news is that we came to the test here and Kenny (Francis) brought some new things that really worked well. I think that we'll be competitive here Saturday night."
THE COCA-COLA 600 AND SPRINT ALL-STAR RACE WERE TWO DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT RACES; WHAT DO YOU EXPECT SATURDAY NIGHT? "I would expect Saturday night to be similar to the last 200 laps of the 600. It's going to be dark. It's going to be cool. There will be some long race runs. The tire will be full of air and you'll start to get tight or loose -- whatever your car is doing. I think it will be similar to the last 200-300 laps of the 600 which was a great time of the race for us. I'm looking forward to it."
-credit: dodge motorsports