KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT DOES THE 9 CAR HAVE TO DO TO GET INTO THE CHASE? "I'd say keep building on what we've been working on for the last couple of months. We've had a good couple of months with cars and engines.
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT DOES THE 9 CAR HAVE TO DO TO GET INTO THE CHASE? "I'd say keep building on what we've been working on for the last couple of months. We've had a good couple of months with cars and engines. Everything has been getting better on that side of things. Richard Petty Motorsports has done a nice job giving their teams and drivers better equipment, so I think (we) keep building on that. The communication with myself and Kenny Francis (crew chief, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) and Keith Rodden (No. 9 car engineer), you know, keep working on that. Hopefully, we can have good cars every weekend. Our pit crew has been great. Last week, we gained spots every time on pit road; they're doing an awesome job. We need to keep that kind of stuff up and I think that we'll have a really good shot at making the Chase."
WHAT DID YOU SEE ON THAT LAST LAP AT DAYTONA? DID TONY (STEWART) DUMP KYLE (BUSCH)? "It was a long ways from a dump in my mind. I'd say they were both battling for the win. It's Daytona, Talladega, those kinds of tracks you do that stuff. Tony did a great job to get to Kyle's outside. It's so hard to tell.
"They were picking me apart with my incident with the 12 car on the backstretch. I was on the brakes trying to avoid David Stremme. He was confused and didn't know what direction that he was going. He was going left, then right. I ended up taking him out, but I was on the brakes hard to avoid him. He just wasn't going (fast enough). It was my fault, but it wasn't. That's that type of racing and I think that Tony made a great move to get to Kyle's outside. To me, it looked like that Tony was going to side draft and get up and pass him at the line. Kyle turned right and tried to block and Tony was there. I would say that was definitely not Tony's fault. That was a racing incident and that's the way that racing goes. That's that type of racing at those types of race tracks. I thought that it was pretty exciting. You don't want to see those types of wrecks, but I thought that the racing was really exciting."
WHAT DID YOU SEE WHEN THE 18 CAR WAS UP ON YOUR HOOD DURING THAT LAST LAP WRECK? "For me, it started down the backstretch. We had a really good run; I went to the middle in (Turns) 3 and 4, probably passed two or three cars. I came off of Turn 4 and was pushing (Marcos) Ambrose. We were three-wide on the outside and I'm pushing him as hard as I could and he ended up finishing sixth, so that shows that I was giving him a great push. The wreck happened and he got in front of (Matt) Kenseth and got down a lane and then it was all right in front of me. I had cars on my inside and was kind of sideways trying to figure out where to go. The next thing that I know I was underneath Kyle's car. I didn't see anything. When you hit your neck goes forward and I was probably looking at my knees, so I didn't see what the bottom of his car looked like. In pictures, I should know everything about his race car because I was way under there."
LOOKING AT THE LAST-LAP WRECK IN DAYTONA, SHOULD NASCAR DO ANYTHING TO CHANGE THE RULES AND REGULATIONS TO MAKE IT SAFER FOR DRIVERS? "You look at the Car of Tomorrow and how safe it is; all the safety stuff that we have as drivers and what the teams give us these days. I think that aspect is awesome. I think (NASCAR) has done an incredible job to give the drivers the safety that we have right now. That type of race, you're going to have it. We've had it since I think Daytona opened it seems like...a lot of different wrecks over the years. It creates excitement. I don't think that you can do anything about it. It's just part of racing at those race tracks. I have no issue with it.
"I hate getting in those wrecks. It's no fun. It hurts for a couple of minutes, but it's kind of the way it goes. Watching it on TV, it looks a lot worse than my perspective. When I'm in it, I'm just racing. I'm trying to get to the start-finish (line). It's just racing. You try to get through things. Those tracks to me are a lot of fun. I really enjoy Daytona and Talladega. If you can miss that wreck, it's makes it (the race) that much better."
DID YOU NOTICE ANY PROCESS CHANGES IN THE WAY THAT GOODYEAR CONDUCTED TIRES TESTS AT INDY? "(Goodyear) kept on bringing different tires. I don't know a lot about tires, bit I know that every time that they brought a different tire, it felt a lot different on the race track. From them building too much heat, whether it was coming from going down the straightaway or too much heat on the inside of the tire...basically carving the tire off, just tearing the tread right off of it. Those were some of the issues we had and by the time that we left Indy, I think that I had tested six or seven times there and we should be the favorite going into that race with all the testing that we've done (laughs). I think things change. The final test was the first time that we (all the drivers) were on the same tire the whole time and the tire makes the race car. I feel like with our car, we know where we are going to start when we go to Indianapolis and I'm excited about that. I'm excited that I was able to be at some of those tests and work on that tire with Goodyear. They just did a good job. I feel like they gave us a good tire. They've done everything they could to make a tire last on that surface and that race track with those long straightaways. I think there's a lot to it because it seemed like a pretty tough process.
"In the early June (test), I liked the tire initially, but then we put on another tire and I liked it a little bit more. My car was pretty tight and what happened was that the other tire slid more so it was fine for me. (Juan Pablo) Montoya and the other drivers were a lot looser with the other tire, so they didn't like it as much. By the end of the day, we had worked on our car some more and we put the first tire back on and I was like, 'This is the best tire.' And that's what Tony and Juan were saying also. We were all on the same page after I ran it. We had made changes and made our Dodge better than it was initially."
IS IT COMMON FOR DRIVERS TO ALL AGREE ON A TIRE AFTER A TIRE TEST? "I think that it's pretty common. If you like it as a driver, a lot of times drivers like the same things because you're looking for something that creates a good race, creates something that you can run side-by-side and pass cars. We were all on the same page at the Indy test."
-credit: dodge motorsports