Kasey Kahne met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed resigning of Farmers Insurance, racing at Michigan.
KASEY KAHNE, NO. 5 FARMERS INSURANCE CHEVROLET SS, met with members of the media at Michigan International Speedway and discussed resigning of Farmers Insurance, racing at Michigan, status of his contract with Hendrick Motorsports, Kyle Busch and other topics. Full transcript:
ON RENEWAL OF FARMERS INSURANCE AS PRIMARY SPONSOR: “It is really good news. It is exciting to have Farmers Insurance re-sign for three more years, and be part of our No. 5 team. We’ve done a lot with them, and have really enjoyed working with them over the years. We won some races. We have a good partnership. I think what we did this year with ‘Thank a Million Teachers’ was a…I had a lot of fun with it. It was a great promotion that they did just showing teachers how much we appreciate them. I spend a lot of time with teachers and then with students at the same time in the month of May in four different states, four different schools. I really enjoyed that. It is things like that that I am excited about that we will get to keep doing with Farmers Insurance. I’m looking forward to winning also, and getting them in Victory Lane more than we have at this point.”
ON SECURE FEELING OF HAVING SPONSOR SIGNED, AND CHALLENGES OF MICHIGAN INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY: “It feels good when you know you have sponsorship. They are such a big part of what makes us able to race each weekend and put everything into it that Hendrick Motorsports does. I’m glad about Farmers Insurance. We have Great Clips there as well. I’m excited about it; I think there will be some good things there.
WHERE ARE YOU WITH YOUR DRIVER’S CONTRACT WITH HENDRICK MOTORSPORTS? “I like being at HMS. It is just an unbelievable place. Getting to work with the three teammates that I get to work with each week is better than anything I’ve ever done in racing as far as guys I’ve been able to work with. I am getting information there from three of the best in racing. I’ve enjoyed every bit of it. Mr. Hendrick is always trying to help me as a driver; as a person and he gives us every opportunity. So, I want to be there a long time. We still have a year-and-a-half before my deal’s up. So I think performance, and sponsors that want to be part of them, and just getting our team back where it needs to be. We’ve struggled some this year for really no reason. We can’t have that. If we can get rid of some of those struggles, I would hope that I would be at Hendrick Motorsports for a long time.”
WHEN DO YOU START TALKING ABOUT RENEWAL? “I think you start talking about it whenever they start talking about it. I don’t know when that date is, but I think we have a lot of really good things going on, and with a little bit of performance here and there, maybe it will come up sooner than later. I would love to be there for a long time, so we will kind of have to see how that works out.”
WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THIS TRACK AND YOUR PERFORMANCES ON IT? “It is a really smooth, high-speed different Michigan than what it was the first seven years I came here and raced. I enjoy it. It is going to be hot; it is going to be 83 on Sunday. I think there will be a little less grip out there which hopefully should open up the race track and give us more opportunity to make passes because the track is a lot grayer than it was last year. I think it will be good. It just takes time when a track gets repaved especially with this type of banking and this type of speed to really have the track open up and race really well. I think it is heading in that direction. As far as our performance, we ran pretty good in both races. We had a tire in the second one leading, so I felt like we had a top two or three car there. In the first one we got to seventh from the back, so that was pretty good performance.”
YOU ARE GOING TO SONOMA NEXT WEEK, AND TEMPERS CAN EASILY FLARE AT A ROAD COURSE, AS WELL AS IN YOUR PERSONAL CAR ON THE FREEWAY. WHAT ARE THINGS THAT CAN MAKE YOU ANGRY WHEN YOU ARE DRIVING YOUR PERSONAL CAR ON THE HIGHWAY?
“There are a lot of things that make me angry out there. People driving slow in the fast lane, that is the first one. Not paying attention. Texting. Swerving because they aren’t paying attention. Someone sitting at a stop sign and not paying attention…I saw this yesterday, and it got to me pretty good. It is just people not paying attention more than anything at the end of the day. I just feel like when you are on the roads, it is a good place to pay attention. Things happen fast. Until you have been in accidents, you might not realize that. But once you get in one…even at 40 miles-an-hour, it happens a lot quicker than you are expecting it to.”
HAVE YOU AND KYLE BUSCH SPOKEN SINCE LAST WEEK? IF SO, HOW DID THAT GO? “He sent me an email, then a text to ask if I got it. I told him I did, and that is how it went. I talked through every situation and scenario last year with him when we had them, and to this day, I’ve still raced him the exact same way. For him to do that, I knew it was coming as soon as he floored it in the corner. I was like ‘He can’t. He can’t. He’s going to run me right in the wall’. I think he was having a bad day, and just loses it. But as far as us talking, we haven’t. He did write me an email, but I don’t really care anymore. I don’t care to talk to him or anything.”
WHAT CAN BE READ INTO THE PRACTICE SPEEDS AT MIS, AND BEING FASTEST IN THE FIRST PRACTICE? IS THAT A GOOD READ OR IS THERE STILL ENOUUGH TIME FOR EVERYBODY TO CATCH UP? “Well it was all just qualifying, so the cars change a good bit for the race. They will change the setup a lot for tomorrow. The set-ups, and kind of the balance of the car and what you can get away with. This place when you are taped solid, and have all the downforce put in the car, it’s a much different feel than what we’ll have tomorrow, and especially what we will have Sunday when there is cars all around. I wouldn’t say you can read a lot into it, but definitely think that when you hit on something, you can carry some of that with you. I felt like at the end of practice we made some really big gains with our Farmers Insurance Chevy. I look forward to the whole weekend, I think we will be a strong car all weekend long after how we have started.”
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE PRESSURE FROM MOUNTING ON YOU AS THE RACES ARE COUNTING DOWN, AND WINS COUNTING SO MUCH? “Really where we are at right now, as a team, we need to show up each weekend, and put full weekends together; from myself to Kenny (Francis, crew chief) to everybody on our team. We all have talked about this all weekend, and all week long leading into this race. We just need to step up, and if we do that, I feel like ‘yes, there is going to be pressure, we want to be in the Chase’. But we have fast enough cars. We have all the equipment; everything there to do it. We just need to put those weekends together. Put ourselves in position, and there is still plenty of time to win races.”
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE GAME OF CHICKEN THAT GETS PLAYED WITH SOMETHING THINKING THE OTHER ONE IS GOING TO LIFT? “This is just when one guy in on the inside and one guy is on the outside and a wall is coming, the car on the outside is going to hit the wall first if he doesn’t…. you know, when you run out of space. The guy on the inside wants to use the entire exit of the corner to carry his speed down the next straightaway. My whole opinion, and my whole point on that was I had already passed Kyle (Busch) the reason he passed me back was because I was passing Ryan Newman and two cars, with no one in front of us-the next car was way up-going down the straightaway side-by-side gave Kyle the opportunity to get a big draft, and stick his nose in there when we got to turn one. So suddenly he is back and he knows if he didn’t clear me there, that we would be a position behind. So he just floored it, and if it is close someone is going to life. So that is the way I look at it. You just put someone in that position, and it’s all up to the guy on the inside. His spotter was telling him outside, outside, outside.”