Las Vegas: Kahne - Friday Dodge interview

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) YOU HAVE TO FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE WAY THINGS HAVE GONE COMPARED TO LAST SEASON:"I do.The team has done a really good job.This team is back to where it was.Our cars weren't right last year,...

KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)

YOU HAVE TO FEEL REALLY GOOD ABOUT THE WAY THINGS HAVE GONE COMPARED TO LAST SEASON:"I do.The team has done a really good job.This team is back to where it was.Our cars weren't right last year, something was wrong with them.It showed.We had a great run at Daytona and California.It could have been a top five at either one of them. We're excited and happy things are going good and Vegas will be another great track for us."

YOU SEEMED TO BE ONE OF THE HAPPY ONES DURING THE TEST HERE WITH THE NEW CAR:"We had a really good test and we brought that same car here. We raced it last week in California and they turned it around real quick. That was a good job by those guys; a lot of work.We had a good test. We have things that need to be better in order to win this race, but we definitely have a good starting point.Hopefully, we can qualify well and have a good starting spot.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DIFFERENCE PEOPLE WILL SEE WITH THE NEW CAR:"I think it's tough to say.Last week, it was similar racing.I think this will probably be similar racing.Until we hit a lot of these tracks, it's kind of hard to say what is going to happen with these cars, how they are going to feel all the time and how the races are going to be.Hopefully, the racing is great and we run side-by-side with a lot of lead changes."

HOW ABOUT THE LINE HERE WITH THE NEW CAR AND TIRE WEAR?"The line seemed similar in the test, but it will move up some as the race goes on.This car to me seems like it likes the bottom of the race track a little more than what the old car did last year, but we will find that out.I think it did at California.We'll just keep working on it.I don't know how it's all going to go.I enjoy driving it."

WHAT DID YOU DO THIS WEEK COMING TO VEGAS?"I've got a cold.I went snowboarding, snowmobiling, power gliding, a bunch of things at Grand Targhee, one of the Gillett's resorts in Wyoming.Wednesday and Thursday were the two good days; we had a lot of fun."

WHAT IS THE REASON FOR THE TURNAROUND?"Focusing on one car, the car we're racing and the Gilletts coming aboard.You know, we've changed the structure at the shop and I think that's really helped.Just having Kenny Francis there and working with him and the people he's put on our team.We had a great team and we have a great team.Once your car starts handling, all the communication stuff comes back.It should be fine.We (Kenny and I) communicate well.I've never had a problem with him; he hasn't had a problem with me. We'll race great if we have good race cars and they (the team) work really hard to give us good race cars.

DOES THIS CAR SUIT YOUR DRIVING STYLE?"Last year, it didn't.I couldn't get anything to work last year.This year, it seems like it suits my driving style a little bit better.You just have to have good race cars.If you want to go fast, if you want people to push you at Daytona, if you want to win races in Las Vegas, you have to have a great race car.That's what we're starting to have and we're going to keep working on it until we have great race cars.

JIMMY JOHNSON WON TWO RACES IN A ROW HERE AND THEY CHANGE THE RACE TRACK, HE WINS THE THIRD STRAIGHT AND THEY CHANGE THE RACE CAR.WHAT IS THAT A SIGN OF?"A solid team and a solid driver.They do everything right.Last week, I was up front in the top five the whole race and I was watching Jimmy and his pit stops. He would be third, seventh, fourth, you know all over and then on the final pit stop of the day, he comes out first.They know when it's time to step up.They're a great team.They do everything right and together."

YOUR NEW 'ALLSTATE' COMMERCIAL COMES OUT THIS WEEKEND:"They come out this weekend I guess.That's what I heard.It's a lot different.You won't expect to see me doing the stuff I'm doing.I didn't' think I could do it.I was able to do some of it.I don't dance very often.We had a chorographer and some dancers.I was working with them. It was a one-day deal.It was a lot of fun.They were really good at what they do.I saw the tape.It's different. It's pretty funny.

HOW IS YOUR NEW IDENTITY WITH BUDWEISER?"It's been good.I enjoy the brand.I enjoy working with the people and doing the appearances and things with the fans.So far, so good.I like it. I like what we're doing.It's just going to get better as the season goes along and the Budweiser fans see we can win races and run up front."

HOW LONG DID IT TAKE THE TEAM TO MAKE REPAIRS TO THE RACE CAR (THE NO. 9 CAR RECEIVED SHEET METAL DAMAGE TO RIGHT SIDE AT CALIFORNIA)?"They were here Tuesday morning and started working on it.I hit the wall at California, just rubbed it so the car needed a little work on the right side.They finished it yesterday.It's the car we tested; we tested other ones against it and I always felt better in that car.So we thought California is definitely the place to take it because that's a track harder to get a hold of than Las Vegas.We got through there fine and Kenny wanted to redo it.He feels confident with that car also. It'll prove to be a good decision this week."

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series NASCAR Sprint Cup