Kahne - Dodge teleconference 2009-06-23

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript June 23, 2009 Q: How special was it to have Richard Petty in Victory Lane with you after your win at Infineon on Sunday? A: It was a great day for us. I...

Kasey Kahne, Driver, No. 9 Budweiser Dodge
Dodge Motorsports Teleconference Transcript
June 23, 2009

Q: How special was it to have Richard Petty in Victory Lane with you after your win at Infineon on Sunday?

A: It was a great day for us. I was really excited to be in Victory Lane and see Richard (Petty) in there and see how excited Richard was. He had his Dodge cap over his cowboy hat. I enjoyed the moment. It was really cool and a lot of fun. To win at a road course was unbelievable for me because I always looked at so many of those drivers that can adapt and are versatile and can race ovals and then road courses like Tony (Stewart) and how he can run dirt and everything, it makes you feel pretty good as a driver."

Q: Can you take us through those final laps at Sonoma?

A: My biggest concern was hitting my marks, staying focused and not over-shooting a corner or spinning the tires on a restart. Knowing that Tony was behind me, there were a couple spots that I knew that he could pass me if he was close and just making sure that he didn't have a good shot at me in the corners...hit my marks and make sure I wasn't missing anything.

Q: Did Tony come to Victory Lane to congratulate you?

A: Yeah, he came to Victory Lane and congratulated myself and the entire team which was really cool to see Tony and have somebody like that congratulate you and tell you that you guys did a good job today."

Q: What did Richard Petty say to you?

A: He was really excited. He was talking about how good the day was and we have to keep it up; we have to look forward to New Hampshire. He was excited to be back in Victory Lane. I was pretty pumped to see a smile on his face and sit there and take pictures for a couple of hours with him."

Q: How did you celebrate the win? Did you have time?

A: There wasn't a whole lot of time. We spent a couple of hours doing interview and things, taking pictures. I had a couple of friends with me on the plane and we had a couple Budweiser's on the way home and that was it. I wasn't able to do a whole lot. I had tons of text messages. By the time I took my uniform off and put my clothes on, I had 120-some text messages already. By then I had a lot of people to answer.

Q: How cool was it to win on Father's Day?

A: It's a great day to win when all of our father's are such a big deal of what we do every week. And for the (crew) guys that have kids, and their kids to be watching (on television). I was pretty pumped up. I know that my Dad was excited. That's the second time that I was able to win a Sprint Cup race on Father's Day. He had some friends at the house back in Enumclaw (Wash.), watching the race.

Q: How much has the Dodge R6 made to the recent success of your team?

A: I think that (the success) has to do with a lot of things. The engine itself is definitely better at low RPMs. I feel like it shoots (the car) off the corner a little bit better. We didn't have that engine at Sonoma; we had the old engine in the car. We've only run the new (R6) engine a couple of times. The engine helps. Our cars have gotten better. They're lighter. We're putting more time in our cars. That's nice. The setups and knowing what feeling (feel of the car) I'm looking for. Working with Kenny Francis (crew chief) has been really good. Since Darlington, we've definitely had a lot of shots at top fives, top 10s.

Q: Does the Sonoma win set your team up for a string of upcoming good races, wins?

A: The timing is perfect because with 10 races to the Chase, we're right there in the mix. We've been strong for the last month and really haven't had the results that we're looking for. We have our newest, latest cars....our newest, latest engines. To me, it feels like February and we're about to start the season with all the new stuff that we have.

Q: What does it mean for the sport of NASCAR to have one of its icons back in Victory Lane?

A; I think it's huge. I've won 11 races, counting the All-Star race, and I've never seen Mike Helton come to Victory Lane and congratulate (anyone). I'm sure he's really excited for the team that wins, but he (Helton) came into Victory Lane to shake Richard Petty's hand. To see that, to see the fans and how excited they were to see Richard in Victory Lane was eye-opening to me and I felt pretty good to be a part of it with Richard.

Q: How often will you be using the R6? And is there one missing 'thing' that your team needs to make the Chase?

A: I think the car, and we have that. The (new) engine has more power; we just need to work on better fuel mileage when it comes to fuel mileage races. We've been working hard on making that better and still having the power that we need. In the past couple of years, I'd say that we've been close with all that stuff, but we're always on the edge of making it (Chase) or not making it. We have to be strong here the next five races and get more solidly in there than being right on the edge.

Q: How often will you be using the new engine at upcoming races?

A: I haven't asked because I know that they are going to give it to us as much as they can. I'll have (the R6) at New Hampshire. It's definitely going to be good to have it there and I look forward to it. After that, as quickly as they get them (built), we'll have more in the Bud car.

Q: Was it more rewarding to have the race at Infineon come down to you and Tony Stewart?

A: It's definitely rewarding. I looked in my mirrors on those restarts and I've got Tony to my left, Marcos Ambrose, Jimmie Johnson and Juan Pablo (Montoya) surrounding us. Those are some real strong names in the sport on road courses. To beat those guys and race Tony like we did the whole day was great. If he (Tony) looked in his mirror, I was 15, 10 car lengths behind him most of the race, yet we won. Yeah, it feels great to race with Tony and beat him.

Q: Any indication from anyone at RPM that won't be in a Dodge next year and in a Toyota?

Q: Truthfully, from my side, I've heard a lot of that stuff too. You hear and you wonder, but I've been hearing that for over a year now. As long as our Dodge engines are getting better and are strong, I'm happy with them. That R6 is a good package and we need to keep working on it and improving on it. I don't see us changing from Dodge.

Q: How do you feel the Gillett's sale of the Montreal Canadiens may affect your race team?

A: I don't know. I don't anything that really goes on with the Gillett's on any of their other things. I heard that they're selling, or might be selling the Canadiens. I really don't know. I have no idea. I really don't care. I'm all about our Sprint Cup team and whatever it takes for our team to be successful and for Richard Petty Motorsports to be successful.

Q: Does this year feel any different in trying to make the Chase as compared to others?

A: It always seems a little bit different. We're always in that 10th to 14th (position). That's a tough spot when it's coming down to Richmond with the things that can happen...people can crash you or you can do things yourself. We've been through it all. So, I just want to start performing every week and hopefully not be so close when it comes down to Richmond. And if we are close, we'll do everything we can to make it and that's all that we can do.

Q: Is there anything that you've learned from your past experiences that can help this year?

A: Anything can happen at any time.

Q: Are you excited about where you are in battling for the Chase or are you dreading it because of the pressure that it brings?

A: I'm excited. I enjoy it. That may be one of the reasons that I enjoy racing so much because of the pressure and the excitement of trying to beat cars around you, pass the car in front of you. I look forward to that. Whether we're right in the middle of that or not, hopefully we're in position to win a Sprint Cup. I enjoy the pressure and trying to perform under pressure.

Q: You were at the tire test at Indy. Are the cars still demanding as much out of the right-side tires as you were last season?

A: It's changed a little bit. We're working on getting the car lighter, getting the car lower; that makes it easier on the tires. It hasn't changed a whole lot. The way the cars are driving to me is similar with the setups similar. I think Goodyear has really stepped up and really put a ton into finding what tire works and what tire is going to make for better racing. I think it's going to be a better race. I can't wait for Indy.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Tony Stewart , Jimmie Johnson , Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne , Marcos Ambrose , Mike Helton