KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Pole "We started practice today and scuffed some tires. The tires are real hard and we're just trying to get grip. We scuffed some tires and made two race runs and kinda figured out where...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge Charger) -- Pole
"We started practice today and scuffed some tires. The tires are real hard and we're just trying to get grip. We scuffed some tires and made two race runs and kinda figured out where we needed to be there and made two qualifying runs. We felt like we had a good car when practice was over. We knew there would be more grip when the sun went down. So we made the car turn better and better and had a pretty good lap. There are some bumps in one and two that I was able to get around and cut down the track after I got around them. It worked out good. I'm excited not to give the track record up yet. I've had it since '04, so I'll try to keep it for awhile."
DOES THE NEW TRACK THROW EVERYTHING IN THE PAST OUT THE WINDOW?
"There are parts of the track that feel similar, how you get in the corners and how you get off the corners. It just feels like Vegas, but once you get in the middle of the corner it's something different. The tire is creating the biggest obstacle. It's hard so we don't blow tires, so they made a real hard tire so it slows us down and we don't have speeds. There's so much force in the tires, and that alone is going to make for anybody's race on Sunday. Whoever can figure it out and stay out of trouble or whoever can figure it out how to get around the track in hot temperatures."
HOW DID THE TRACK FEEL TODAY?
"I think we started practice at 11:30. My final run there was two minutes left and that was my fastest and that was about 1 o'clock. The track was a lot more slippery. When the track temperature heats up it's a huge difference. To me it's not usually that big of a difference, but I think because the tires are so hard, left-side tires especially, as the track temperature heats up it makes a bigger difference. Sunday is going to be the hottest day of the weekend from what I've seen on the weather. That'll create for an interesting 400 miles."
WILL THIS BE A MARKER FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON?
"It's qualifying and qualifying is cool if you're on the pole. Other than that it doesn't mean a whole lot on what's going to go on Sunday. Definitely in qualifying today Dodge was the car to beat. There's a lot of them up there. Last year there were a lot of them up there, too. Evernham Motorsports figured it out early in the year how to make the Charger to work last year and we had some poles and ran up front last year, so I think the Dodge Motorsports Dodges and all the Dodge teams are a little more equal now. They've figured out what we did last year and we have a new nose and that's probably part of the reason why. Maybe the car is a little easier to figure out. I really don't know. My car feels little more equal now. They've figured out what we did last year and we have a new nose and that's probably part of the reason why. Maybe the car is a little easier to figure out. I really don't know. My car feels just like it did on these type of tracks last year as it does now."
COMMENT ON SMALLER FUEL CELLS AND MORE PIT STOPS
"There's going to be a lot going on in the race, I don't that. Coming to pit road as much as we will and sliding around as much as we're going to be sliding around... I still haven't figured out how we're going to get to pit road and not knock the valence off the car because of the change there from the banking to the flat. That's going to be difficult. There will be a lot of things going on Sunday that's just kind of up in the air and right now I think it's anybody's race. There will be some teams that figure out to make the tires work and cars that don't. You may not see a lot of side by side racing as slippery as it is, and I don't know whose fault that is. There's just so much speed and the cars have so much downforce. It's going to be hard to run side by side on a tire that's stiff as a rock."
DOES THE CAR FEEL DIFFERENT IN TRAFFIC?
"Last year when we got back in traffic we struggled to get back to the front. Once you got back to the front and we got in clean air we were quick. Last week in California we fell to the back because of the way pit stops went before we had our problem and I was struggling to get back to the front. There's more there. I think it has to do with the really soft springs and when you lose air on your car it starts flying around and it's really hard to drive. I think all the teams have the same problem. It's just how you manage it and how you keep yourself in position. There's lot of time in these races, so you just take your time and you'll eventually get to the front."
-credit: dodge motorsports