Dodge Motorsports Teleconference May 4, 2004 KASEY KAHNE , (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge) CALIFORNIA RECAP "Sunday was a real good day. We won our third pole of the year and started up front. We led for awhile (22 of first 24 laps) early...
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference
May 4, 2004
KASEY KAHNE , (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge)
"Sunday was a real good day. We won our third pole of the year and started up front. We led for awhile (22 of first 24 laps) early in the race. We felt the car was really good. We made changes to it as we went along and it was good throughout the day. The track really changed a lot with the greasy surface and it being so hot it changed a lot. We tried to keep up with that and late in the race we got a little behind. We were a little too tight that final run and Jeff Gordon pulled away from us. We were going to probably run about fourth and we ran out of gas at the end. It kinda ended on a bad note, but other than that it was a pretty good day. The team did a good job in the pits all day long to get me out usually first or second all day."
DID THE HEAT BOTHER YOU SUNDAY?
"It was definitely hot. I had an ice bag break that was in my lap. We didn't have any holes drilled in the seat, so the water started boiling and I was burning up pretty good. We got some rags in there on the last pit stop and that helped me not get bad blisters. Other than that it was just a hot day. It took a lot out of us, but it wasn't too bad. It was just a hot Sunday race day."
OUTLOOK FOR RICHMOND
"I'm excited to go to Richmond. We're going to test the Busch car up there tomorrow and try to figure out the new surface. They repaved it. It's a tough little track, but it's a lot of fun to race on and I've always liked Richmond. With the new surface it should have a lot of grip, and it should be really fast. Tommy Baldwin has a pretty good record at Richmond. Hopefully I can learn some things from him and have a good race there."
DO YOU GET A CHANCE TO SEE THE COUNTRY WHEN YOU TRAVEL?
"I see some of it sometimes, but a lot of time we're so busy at the racetrack with either Cup or Busch or both I don't get to see as much. I need to see a little bit more, but I enjoy racing so on the race weekends that's all I'm thinking about. I always enjoy going to the west coast because that's where I'm from. Other than that, I enjoy going everywhere. We tested at Sears Point last week and went out to the wine country and Napa Valley out there. It's really nice out there, a little bit different than the Midwest and other parts of the country."
HAVE YOU TALKED WITH TONY STEWART?
"I didn't talk to him at all. I don't really know what happened this weekend. Last weekend was just Talladega. That's the way some of those races go. I didn't have any problems with him this weekend. I don't know if anybody else did."
HAVE YOU HAD BAD WEEKS ON THE TRACK?
"I think I've probably had a few of those weeks when things happen and you get away from them later on. It's just part of racing. Things happen sometimes that you don't want 'em to, or maybe you do, but everybody looks at it in different ways it seems. I don't think anybody is after anybody or anything like that. It's just part of racing. Things happen and that's why racing is so much fun."
DID YOUR ATTITUDE CHANGE AFTER ATLANTA?
"We had a really good car at Atlanta, and I kinda screwed it up at the end by running into the wall a couple of times. It knocked the fenders in and we didn't have as good a car at the end of the race as we needed. I was pretty disappointed in myself after Atlanta. That was my first 500-mile race, and I was pretty worn out, too. I think just running into the wall and being tired, I wasn't happy, but after Texas I was definitely wondering how we were going to win a race. It is a little bit (frustrating). We're still getting good finishes and this weekend we would probably had another top five if we hadn't run out of gas. I'm pretty happy with the way everything is going. I'm actually really happy with it. If we keep running up front we'll get some victories. I think after running Busch the last couple of years and what I did there and then setting goals for this year and after signing up with Ray Evernham and being part of the Dodge Dealers team, I had other goals. After being with Ray, I think the people I'm working with and learning from I'm right about where I want to be with my goals. Maybe we could have been a little bit better in a couple of races, but other than that we're pretty close where we need to be this season. I'm never really satisfied with myself and what I'm doing unless I'm winning the race or championship. That's what it's all about. We'll keep working hard and hopefully some day we'll be able to win some races."
HOW MUCH HAS QUALIFYING WELL HELPED ON SUNDAY?
"I think it's helped a lot. It definitely gets me excited. I love qualifying, especially when I'm qualifying for the Bud Poles. It keeps the team excited come Friday, and when we go into practice on Saturday morning everybody is a little more excited that we're starting on the front. I've always enjoyed qualifying. I don't know how many track records I have, but I know I have a few around the country in different cars. I definitely like qualifying a lot."
NOTE: Kahne and Ryan Newman, driver of the No. 12 ALLTEL Dodge, are tied with three poles each after 10 races this season on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup circuit.
HAS RUNNING ON SATURDAY HELPED ON SUNDAY?
"I just know where the track's at when the race goes green on Sunday. I know what you can't and can do already, where the lines are, how the track's changed from the day before. I think it definitely helps, and it definitely helped me being a rookie this season."
ANY ADVICE FOR DRIVERS JUMPING INTO NASCAR
"When I got into the heavier Busch cars they move around a lot more. It's a lot different than a sprint car, and it took me a long time to get the feel of the car on fresh tires when they move around more. Just finding a balance, where I want the car to start in a run so it finishes here at the end of the run. I didn't start feeling comfortable until I started working with some guys that gave me some comfortable racecars."
COMMENT ON YOUR DRIVING STYLE
"Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, maybe Matt Kenseth, their styles and the way they race, I'd say I'm closer to them than anybody else, maybe a Ryan Newman with qualifying and some of the things he does. I guess we drive alike in certain ways maybe. I'm probably a little smoother going to the front and aggressive when I need to be and maybe not quite as much sometimes to make sure nothing happens and to keep all the fenders on. If you have 200 laps to get back to the front you don't have to do it in five laps. You can take your time. I think I understand a lot of the long race situations when you get to Nextel Cup."
COMMENT ON YOUR MOTHER'S INFLUENCE ON YOUR RACING CAREER "I'd say she encouraged me a lot growing up. I learned a lot of things from her, just the way I act today and treat other people and respect other people. I think I learned most of that from her. She's definitely done a lot for me, and now she's running my fan club and souvenir store on the website. She's really enjoying it, and she's doing a lot for me. It's pretty cool. Mother's Day is coming up and she's been a great mom, that's for sure."
COMMENT ON CHALLENGES OF RUNNING BUSCH AND CUP
"It's going to start getting tough when we have to start flying back and forth to some races. Nazareth should be a little easier because it's on Sunday after the All-Star race. It's going to get a little complicated, and we've got to make sure we can get to every practice and make sure we don't miss any Cup practice and try to get to every Busch practice we can. I think I do feel a little overwhelmed with it sometimes with all the directions they pull you during the week. Other than that, at the racetrack I think I'm getting that down. As soon as Busch practice is over you've got to run to your Cup car and pretty much back and forth all day until Sunday. I'm pretty much getting that stuff down. It's all the other stuff that comes along with it. It definitely gets overwhelming sometimes."
COMMENT ON CREW CHIEF TOMMY BALDWIN
"He's a great guy. He's done a lot for me this season. He really helps me out with a lot of different things. He's given me some great racecars to drive. I enjoy talking to him. Sometimes you don't enjoy talking to certain people all the time, but Tommy is the type of guy I can talk to anytime. He's a cool guy."
WHAT ARE CHALLENGES OF MAKING TOP 10 AFTER 26TH RACE?
"Making good decisions, not making as many mistakes, we've done a lot of really good things this season, but all of us have made some little mistakes. We've got to take those out if we want to run for the championship at the end of the season. We've got to keep working on that. I think Ray Evernham has got a great situation and a great team in place. He'll address that and make sure we keep gaining and hopefully we do get a chance to go for the championship at the end of the season."
COMMENT ON RUNNING OUT OF FUEL SUNDAY
"That's one of the things we need to work on and make sure it doesn't happen. We'll try to read those things a little better so they won't happen, but I think everybody is doing a great job. Things are going to happen. Not every day is going to be perfect. We've got to do as many things right as possible to make sure those little things don't happen.
WILL YOU KEEP A CLOSER EYE ON THE POINTS?
"I don't know. I think probably a little bit, but I think we just need to keep an eye on our racecars and what we're doing there, keep running like we've been running and make no mistakes. We're going to gain more points than we did in the first 10 races. We'll keep doing what we're doing and have fewer things go wrong and we'll have a good season."
COMMENT ON TESTING AND RUNNING BUSCH CAR
"I think testing has been a big help this season. We're kind of winding down. We're not going to test at many tracks any more, but going out to Sonoma (for two days) I learned a lot out there -- that track and everything that goes along with road racing. I learned a lot out there. We'll go back and we'll be better than when we were there testing. That's exciting. The Busch cars have been a big help this season. It's helped me pretty much everywhere we went, knowing the track and knowing what it's going to be doing on Sunday. We'll get out of the Busch car and go over to the Cup car and know what the track is like then, so I think it's been a big help running both cars so far this season. Testing helped us a lot in the first 10 races."