Daytona II: Kahne - Dodge interview

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) OVERALL COMMENT ON SEASON SO FAR "Last week at Sears Point I think we had a top 10 or top 15 car and lost the brakes and crashed. It takes time and a lot of work to get consistent....

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger)

OVERALL COMMENT ON SEASON SO FAR

"Last week at Sears Point I think we had a top 10 or top 15 car and lost the brakes and crashed. It takes time and a lot of work to get consistent. We haven't been real consistent, but I think we'll get there. The only thing that made it worse was we won and thought we could win again. We're thinking some of those tracks like Charlotte we could run up front and things didn't happen. That hurt worst, but it was tough running bad at the start of the year. It's the same as it was before Richmond. We had that weekend at Richmond that was almost perfect, and we almost had one the week before at Darlington. We had two really good weeks in a row and have kinda struggled since. It's been about the same. Things haven't really changed since we won."

COMMENT ON PEPSI 400 PRACTICE TODAY

"I'm happy. The Dodge Charger is an awesome speedway car. I really enjoyed practice today. I thought everything went good. We had a great car in the 500. We had a top 10 car. We didn't finish in the top 10, but we could have if things had gone right. I think we'll have that same deal tomorrow night. We've got a car that can finish up there if I do the right things and stay out of trouble. It seems like the February race gets down to handling, also. I remember last year this was definitely more handling than the February race. We have a pretty good setup we found at Daytona. We used it today and it felt decent. It's fun to race under the lights pretty much any time we do it. I enjoy it."

COMMENT ON RESTRICTOR PLATE RACING

"I always liked it. Then by the end of the race I kinda don't like it. More times than not our car is sitting in the garage, but I always enjoy it, trying to figure out the draft and doing it all race long. We practice during the day. You're going to qualify with what you practice with. You can't make any changes, and you don't want to. You want to leave everything the way it is and what you've got is what you've got. We didn't make a practice run in either the Busch car or the Cup car. There's no reason to. I don't mind it not having practice too much down here. Other tracks I like to have a lot of practice, but down here if your car feels pretty good in the first hour you might as well leave it there."

ARE YOUR FINISHES INDICATIVE OF THE TEAM'S PROGRESS?

"We've got to step it up a little bit. It's not far off. It's just going to take a little time. We've had some tough weeks and we could have three or four more, but once we get over that I think it's going to be OK."

DO YOU THINK YOU'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME TO MAKE THE CHASE?

"Pretty close. We're 600 points out of first. We're within reason, but we're going to have to win some races to get in there for sure. So many things can go on during a race whether it's Daytona, Sears Point or Charlotte. We need to not have those little brake issues or those little issues we have throughout a race. Once we get that figured out and get our cars balanced and get our cars consistent, then we can work on getting in The Chase or just work on winning races or running up front again."

ANY GOOD TRACKS COMING UP?

"I really don't know anymore because things have changed this year. All the tracks I was good on last year I'm not as good on this year and better on the tracks we were not good on. I think our best chance now would be Richmond. That's where we've run best this year by a long way, nothing else compares, and that was our worst track last year. We tested Chicagoland two weeks ago and had a really good test and felt like that might be a good track where we could turn it around and have a good weekend, too."

ARE YOU AFFECTED BY THE SUCCESS OF OTHER DRIVERS?

"Not really. You never like to see another guy win too much. You want to be the one doing it, and when you see Jimmie Johnson, who was so strong last year and early in the year, and Biffle has been like that. You kinda get sick of it. At the same time if you were in his situation, that would be what you wanted. It's kinda up and down. I like both of those guys a lot, but I don't like watching them win anymore. You've got a couple of teams that have got things completely figured out. Obviously the 16 has got things figured out more than anybody else. It takes having everything right. If you have a car good enough to win you're going to do everything you can to win. You don't care if you're first in points or 50th in points. That's just the way NASCAR is right now. Everybody is competitive. If you've got a car capable you're going to do everything you can to win. I usually just go for it and whatever happens, happens. That's one of my problems."

-dodge-

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Series NASCAR-CUP