Kahne - Friday media visit

Martinsville

KASEY KAHNE, No. 4 Red Bull Toyota Camry, Red Bull Racing Team

Kasey Kahne, Red Bull Racing Team Toyota
Kasey Kahne, Red Bull Racing Team Toyota

Photo by: Action Sports Photography

What are your thoughts on your start to the 2011 season? “So far it’s been a good start. We’ve been learning some things. The cars are a lot different than what we’ve done in the past so I think just putting it all together. I feel like we’ve been off every week, but we’ve still being running pretty good and we’ve been finishing pretty strong. So, if we can keep working on that -- we have a great team with Red Bull behind it. All of the guys building the race cars -- it’s really nice to drive awesome equipment, nice cars. TRD (Toyota Racing Development) does a good job. So, it’s been good. We just need to keep working and getting the car a little bit better. The teams came together really well, really quick and I think we can run pretty strong throughout this entire season.”

Have you seen the positives and negatives of the new point system through the first five races? “I think it’s a little bit different for myself. I’ve just really been trying to be consistent and get the best finish you can. It seems like you can lose a lot of points pretty easily or gain some if you run well or if you win the race there’s some bonus points there. I think it adds up fast. So, it’s all over the place, but I think it just takes time to see how it’s going to -- for myself, I haven’t got too in-depth with just kind of see how it goes throughout the season. But I know you want to be consistent if you want a chance at making the Chase.”

Do you expect to see the driver’s talking to each other during the race at Talladega like we saw at Daytona? “I expect you’ll see that some more. I think it’s just kind of how that racing is going to be right now. The way the cars are and the way the rules are. I think some of it could be better and I think some of it could be worse, but it is what it is. The spotters are definitely still spotting. They kind of have like a long car to spot for now because actually that guy who is spotting is spotting for the both of the cars so he doesn’t clear you until the second car clears rather than when you clear if you are the lead car. It made it a lot different. I kind of liked it, but then at the same time I’ve always really liked the big packs to where it used to be when we’d be four-wide and 10 rows deep or seven rows deep. Whatever it was. It’s a lot different. There’s probably going to be less wrecks the way it is now and not such the massive huge wreck.”

What is it like to drive at Martinsville and why do you think Jimmie Johnson is so good here? “To me, I think it really -- some people just get a feeling really quick for it. It took me a little while to get it. I feel like I’m a little bit better at it now than I was when I started, but it’s a tough track. It’s rhythm and I think people get really zoned in on when to do what and how to do it and how your car needs to feel. That’s something that I’m still working on, but Jimmie (Johnson) is awesome at it. Him and Denny (Hamlin) are the two guys to beat every time you come here it seems. I think Tony (Stewart) and Jeff (Gordon) used to be and they’re still right there, but Jimmie and Denny are the guys late in the race now. So, it’s just a different place. It has a lot to do with rhythm, braking, throttle, steering and when you are doing all of those things. It seems like they’ve got it down.”

What does it feel like behind the wheel at Martinsville? “Stop and go. Just take off and then you slow down and take off and then you slow down. There’s a lot of cars around you so you’re always bumping. You make a mistake, get frustrated and you can get taken advantage of really quick and get frustrated even worse. It’s one of them tracks that can get to you and you’ve got to make sure it doesn’t get to you and just stay out there. It’s a long race. 500 laps here takes a good amount of time.”

Stop and go. Just take off and then you slow down and take off and then you slow down.

Kasey Kahne

Are you looking forward to the night race at Texas? “I think Texas is a great place to race. The facility, the fans -- everybody that comes out. It’s just always a big show. It’s really awesome to be part of that. I think the night race there will be great. I like racing at Texas no matter what. When we finished at night or watched the Truck race at night or something like that, it’s pretty awesome. I think it will be a great Cup race next Saturday night. Looking forward to it -- it’s one of our better tracks. I think we should do pretty well.”

What makes Texas different than Charlotte and Atlanta? “To me, the biggest difference is when you get into the corner -- the way the car drops into turn one and then the way it transitions into three. The banking is kind of similar, the exit to the corners get flat also, which Charlotte and Atlanta do it, but not quite as much probably. There’s a hole -- where the tunnels are -- there’s a hold across the centers of the corners so your car bounces pretty big through there. It’s a unique track -- it’s a tough track and a great track.”

What are your thoughts of Red Bull Racing Team? “I think something for me is just the attitude and the excitement around Red Bull. To me, everybody’s excited. The guys building the chassis, the guys putting the bodies on the cars, preparing the race cars, debriefing them -- there’s so many things. You walk around there and it’s a good time. It’s back to kind of how it should be I think. I think racing should be fun. It’s a job, but it should be fun too. They do a really nice job with it. They put a lot of extra time into their cars -- it’s nice to see all the little things they do to prepare. I think my car is probably one of the nicest cars in that whole garage over there. They just do a great job. I am just happy to be where I’m at. We’ve learned a little bit about those cars -- they’re a little different so it’s taken some time. With myself and Kenny (Francis, crew chief) to get them perfected. I think we’re getting closer. I don’t feel like we’ve run that well yet as far as the car and myself and how it’s went throughout the whole race. My pit stops have been great. Pit calls and stuff like that have been good, but we still have a ways to go with the car and to run as well as we are and feel like we’re missing it -- I think we could have a pretty good season.”

How is your relationship with Brian Vickers? “Things are good with Brian (Vickers). Myself and Brian -- we’ve been friends for a long time. We kind of started about the same time and he’s a good guy. He’s a good teammate. We’ve been able to work on some things. We drive similar so some of our setups I can get in -- they can put mine in his car or put his in mine and it’s not out to lunch. You just start fine tuning it from there for yourself. That part of it has been good. I think it’s the best teammate-type stuff, driving styles that I’ve had -- the closest that I’ve had yet. It’s good.”

-source: toyota motorsports

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Series NASCAR-CUP
Tags kahne, martinsville, toyota