KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE WEEKEND AT HOMESTEAD? "I think we have a good chance to qualify well, race good on Sunday and finish the season strong. A lot of things are going to happen during the ...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE RACE WEEKEND AT HOMESTEAD? "I think we have a good chance to qualify well, race good on Sunday and finish the season strong. A lot of things are going to happen during the off-season. I'm not sure exactly what, so it will be good to finish strong for the team and the guys. Hopefully it carries over to next year."
YOU HAVE A GREAT RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CREW CHIEF KENNY FRANCIS. WHAT MAKES HIM SO GOOD? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE STRENGTHS THAT HE BRINGS TO THE TABLE? "I feel that myself and Kenny work really well together with the team. The big thing with Kenny is that everybody knows how focused he is. Everybody knows how hard he works. So, it makes everyone work that hard and stay focused all the time. We just want to do a good job for Kenny. Kenny does a good job giving me awesome race cars throughout the year."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO STAY IN THE TOP-10 SO THAT YOU CAN ATTEND THE NASCAR SPRINT CUP BANQUET? "I think it's a big thing to stay there (10th). I don't want to go out there and not be in the top-10 and not go to the banquet at this point. We've raced well enough to be in the top 10. We just need to finish it off here and we should be 10th, ninth, somewhere in there hopefully."
DO YOU APPROACH THIS RACE ANY DIFFERENTLY? "I know that personally I've run decent and qualified well here in the past. I think that Kenny (Francis, crew chief) and Keith Rodden (car engineer) keep working on the balance of our car and our setups and we should make some more gains for this race. I think we're looking pretty good. We want to do everything that we can to finish strong and I think that will make for a good off-season."
WITH ALL THE UNCERTAINTY THAT YOU HAVE GOING INTO THE OFF-SEASON, IS IT TOUGH TO THINK ABOUT NEXT YEAR? "Yeah. It's definitely different because things aren't done. Because we don't have a 'for sure' yet (agreement between RPM and Yates Racing). I think the season needs to get over with for the management side of things and just figure out exactly what we're doing; get us pointed in the right direction so that the teams can start working and preparing for 2010. As far as the 9 team, I think we've done a pretty good job throughout the year. I don't feel like I need to be done racing for the year. I'm still pretty excited at where we're at right now. I think the company needs to be done. (The company) needs be able to focus on getting things straightened out and pointed in the right direction. There are too many unknowns."
HOW MUCH WILL YOU TRY AND STAY IN THE LOOP WITH RPM MANAGEMENT ON WHAT'S GOING ON? "I use to try and stay in the loop and then things don't happen that they say will. At this point, I have one year left (on my RPM contract). I want to do the best job for Richard Petty Motorsports in my final year. It's up to them what happens. They do their thing and I'll do mine. All I can do is make myself better at driving race cars and communicating with Kenny Francis. If I do that, I'll be happy next season."
SO YOU'LL TRY AND LOOK ELSEWHERE NEXT YEAR? "Yeah."
IT'S AN END OF AN ERA FOR YOU AND DODGE IN THE NSCS AFTER THIS RACE. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH DODGE AND WHAT IT'S MEANT TO HAVE THEM AS A SPONSOR? "It's been really good. Dodge has treated me awesome. Coming into Cup racing in 2004 with Ray (Evernham) and Bill Elliott and Dodge and all the Dodge dealers, there's been so many great times over the last six years. It's hard to leave a company that you've been strong with and felt comfortable with. There are a lot of people that I've made friendships with and it's tough to leave that. At the same time, we have to go where the company feels that it's a better spot. That's what (RPM) is doing and I'm behind RPM because that's who I need to be behind and I want to race well for them wherever we go."
WHAT WOULD BE YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT WITH DODGE OVER THE LAST SIX YEARS? "I think my first win at Richmond was really memorable in Cup, my first win. Being able to win in all the series' in 2004 was pretty neat, all in Dodge's. In 2006, when we won six races and six poles, we felt that we were one of the cars to beat a lot of the time that season. Maybe not by points, actually winning races, we were right there with the best guys. Those were probably the best years that I felt most comfortable with Dodge and where we were as a team."
REGARDLESS OF WHAT HAPPENS NEXT YEAR, WILL NEXT YEAR BE YOUR LAST YEAR WITH RPM? "That's hard to say. Come January, I can start looking around; I can talk to other people. I would imagine the Gillett's are going to talk to me at that point. But as of right now, the Gillett's haven't talked to me and I'm just kind of doing my job, doing the best that I can through the end of the season. The ups and downs of the team has made it difficult for me to really say, 'Man, I'm going to be here for 10 more years.' I really don't know what's going to happen. Truthfully, I don't know what's going to happen right now."
-credit: dodge motorsports