Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, is off to a slow start this season with finishes of 30th at Daytona and 34th at California. Kahne spoke about the first two races and what his outlook is for the rest of 2010. YOU'VE...
Kasey Kahne, driver of the No. 9 Budweiser Ford Fusion, is off to a slow start this season with finishes of 30th at Daytona and 34th at California. Kahne spoke about the first two races and what his outlook is for the rest of 2010.
YOU'VE HAD SOME ISSUES THE FIRST TWO WEEKS. "The car has been decent. At Daytona and last week I think we've been top 10 cars. We got in a wreck at Daytona and last week I just made a mistake and cost us a lot of points and a top 10. It's disappointing, but those things happen once in a while. Hopefully, we'll get things turned around and have good, strong run this whole weekend."
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK? "I was behind Montoya and I was catching him and getting ready to pass him. I had a lot of wheel into it because my car was not turning real well, and then it spun out. I was behind on the wheel because I was turned to the left so far, and the aero was off because I was right behind Montoya, and it was just kind of stupid. I should not have put myself in that position and I just made a mistake."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU'RE IN A HOLE? "I don't think our season is over, but we're definitely in a hole as of today. We're thirty-something in points, so that's not very good, but we still have plenty of racing to go."
MARK MARTIN WAS LOWER THAN YOU IN POINTS FOUR RACES IN LAST YEAR. DOES THAT GIVE YOU HOPE? "Yeah, I think it definitely does. I think we all know that in this sport you can go on rolls and if you can run consistently you can gain points pretty fast, especially early in the season. If you're 34th in points after 10 races, you're probably in trouble, but early in the year I think you have plenty of time to make those gains and we need to get started this weekend. We have to run well this weekend if we want to get started on going the right direction."
IS IT EASIER TO SWALLOW SINCE YOUR CARS ARE GOOD? "Our cars are good. I wouldn't say my car is any different than it was last year. I think the Ford engine runs a little better than what we had last year and that's nice, but as far as balance and going and leading laps or running first, second, third, we're not there. Hopefully, we can get there with the group of people that we have and working with everybody from Ford. The Ford engine is better, but that's it. We have a lot of people there. You've seen how well Roush has run in the past and we've run really well at times at RPM, so, hopefully, we can all put it together and figure out how to make some better race cars."
HAD YOU EXPECTED MORE AT THIS POINT? "I expected the cars to be better, I mean just a little bit. You'd think gaining with that many people in that group and pulling our knowledge and their knowledge together you would think, 'Man, we've got to have a better balance on race cars doing that.' That's not the case, but I think as the season goes, hopefully, it will be the case, but not as of right now."
COULD IT BE A CASE OF TOO MUCH INFORMATION? "No. I think we're just really similar to how we were last year. As far as setups and things go, I don't think they had anything to offer us other than the engine and Ford cars. That's the way I look at it."
HOW MUCH DO YOU TRY TO WORK ON THIS CAR WHEN YOU KNOW A SPOILER IS COMING AND IT'S GOING TO CHANGE? "You're getting that and that's something RPM and Roush and that whole combination is working on is the spoiler. They're putting a lot into it because that's what we're gonna run the season on the majority of the year, so I actually look forward to running that because we've been putting the time into it and hopefully it'll be a little better than what we have now."
DO YOU THINK BECAUSE RFR HAD AN OFF YEAR LAST YEAR THAT IT HAS HURT YOU GUYS? "I think as far as setups and some of that stuff goes, they're no further ahead than we are, so you put it all together and you're still in the same position and still in the same spot. I think they have a ton of great people and we have a lot of good people. You put all of their heads together and at some point they're gonna hit on some really good stuff."
HOW DIFFERENT ARE THE TRACKS AT FONTANA AND VEGAS? "They're very different tracks. I like both tracks, but I think this one should be pretty good. It's the third or fourth year with this new pavement, so I think there should be some pretty good racing. It should be pretty nice."
WHEN DO YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING NEXT YEAR? "It's something I want to know during the season for sure, but it's kind of nice to be able to sit back and look and watch the performance of our team, watch the performance of the Chevrolets, the Toyotas, the Fords and the Dodges and just kind of see where everybody is at and make that decision. We have plenty of time to do it, so it's pretty nice to be where we're at right now, I think, with that stuff and give everybody a fair shot and to kind of know the direction. But, like we see, everything is always up and down. One year one team runs really well, and the next year they're not quite as good. It seems like Hendrick has been on a little roll here for a while, but looking at the gains of RCR it's pretty awesome if you ask me. They made more gains than anybody. They went from wherever they were last year to being right in the middle of it. It's pretty cool to see somebody jump like that."
IS RPM IN A TRYOUT PHASE RIGHT NOW? DO YOU HAVE TO SEE SOMETHING FROM THEM? "Well, I have to feel like we're going in the right direction. This is my seventh year and I've stuck it out with them since day one and done everything I could to drive and done everything to communicate and I'm gonna keep doing that. In the middle of this year or towards the end of this year, when I decide to make my decision of what I'm gonna do, if I don't feel like we're gonna be able to run with the Hendrick cars for the next three or four years, then I've got to make a change. If I feel like we can, then I'm gonna stay right where I'm at."
AFTER LAST WEEK DID YOU LOOK AT WHERE YOU WERE IN POINTS? "I didn't have to look. My average finish was easy to figure out and that's about where I am in points, I think (laughing)."
WILL YOU LOOK AT IT EVERY WEEK TO SEE WHERE YOU ARE IN POINTS? "I think if we run well it would be kind of exciting to see that I jumped five spots or three spots or how that works, so I'll look forward to running well, hopefully, and jumping up that list to see how many spots we can pick up a weekend. I saw Johnson picked up a bunch. Early in the year you can pick up a lot if you have a good race."
-source: ford racing