KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger) WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GETTING THE CHASE STARTED? "It's nice to be back in the Chase. It's nice to be at New Hampshire, it's a good track for us and for NASCAR. It's always a pretty good show and...
KASEY KAHNE (No. 9 Budweiser Dodge Charger)
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON GETTING THE CHASE STARTED? "It's nice to be back in the Chase. It's nice to be at New Hampshire, it's a good track for us and for NASCAR. It's always a pretty good show and the fans come out. It's a neat spot to come with the track being so much different than we race everywhere else. I kind of enjoy it, flat, one-mile, we have a great starting spot in the Chase and hopefully good things can happen. I think we're probably at our best right now from where we've been throughout the season. We've been kind of getting better throughout the year and I feel like we're at our best that we've been all year with the 9 car and hopefully we can carry that into these races and have some fun."
WILL MARK MCARDLE'S DEPARTURE FROM RPM AFFECT THE 9 CARS PERFORMANCE DURING THE CHASE AT ALL? "No, I think Mark's done a nice job with our company. He's changed some things that I think have helped and benefitted us. He's worked really hard and put in a lot of time. They had their issues with things and he's gone. He's been gone a week now and I think our team can step up and do a good job and they've shown it throughout the year. The company has showed it through good times and bad; they just keep working hard for all the cars. The 9 guys go out and perform and it's been nice to see how hard those guys work and the good job they do. A lot of the times they really don't know what's going to happen the next day. That's just a lot of hard working employees that do a nice job."
DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED A STRONG START IN THE CHASE TO BE SUCCESSFUL? "I think that in order to win the championship, you're going to have to be strong every week. For us, I don't think that we can get behind. I think we need to be consistent and run well, but we're going to have to step our consistency up a little bit further. I think we're more of a quiet eighth to 13th (consistency car) and we're gonna need to stick that further up in the top 10 and win a race or two if we want to win a championship. Yeah, definitely get off to a good start, keep the team moral up and keep everyone thinking that we may have a shot at Sprint Cup."
YOU SEEN THE CHASE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF BEING IN IT AND OUT OF IT, WHAT'S THE MENTALITY FOR YOU HEADING INTO THIS WEEKEND? "It will be similar to the last month or two. We've worked really hard in practice to get the balance of the car. That's all you have on Sunday. If your car handles and you can move around on the race track and you can move around other cars and pass and figure out ways to pass cars, that's what it's all about. We'll just do everything we can today, again tomorrow and hopefully have that balance there that we can race."
WITH ALL THAT IS GOING ON WITH RPM, DOES THE 9 TEAM FEEL LIKE YOU'RE A PART OF RPM? "I definitely feel like we're a big part of Richard Petty Motorsports. The thing about our guys is that we all know what's going on; we talk about it between ourselves. When it's time to work, when it's time to go out on the track, we just block it out and go out and do our jobs. I think a lot of that leadership comes from Kenny Francis and just how dedicated and strong minded he is to figure out how to win races and figure out how to run well. His team is behind him and they do the same thing. It's nice. We all know what's going on. We go out and close it out and just race. It's pretty nice to go out and see those guys do that each week."
WHO IS THAT GO-TO-GUY, DECISION MAKER AT RPM RIGHT NOW? "Well, that's a tough question because I really don't know who it is either. So, I don't know. There are not a lot of answers out there right now. I don't know if it's because we're in the middle of a lot of things, we just don't have a person in that position. I think Robbie Loomis is supposedly going to be that guy, but I don't think that he is yet. Is it Foster (Gillett)? You can't get anything out of Foster. So it's hard to say who that is and I think that's because we're in a lot of different things right now, but when you're in things, you still need to keep your team and your guys, your company behind you knowing what's going on and we don't have that. Hopefully, we get it soon. The sooner we get that, the better everybody will be."
HOW MUCH DOES THAT CONCERN YOU? "That's the thing, I just feel so confident and so comfortable with Kenny and with the team that he has surrounding him and has surrounding us. If I didn't have that, I'd be a mess; I wouldn't know what to think. But I do have that and it's nice to be able to know each day that I can call up Kenny and we can talk about racing and what we're going to do this weekend. Kenny and Keith (9 car engineer), we all went to dinner this week just as a kind of start to the Chase -- a baseline to what we wanted to accomplish and how we wanted to get started with things that have been good for us and not good for us. So I'm sitting pretty good and I'm happy with that, but if I didn't have those guys, I don't know what I would do."
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF THE LEADERSHIP OF RPM? "I think that the leadership on our team is really good with Kenny. As far as the rest of the company, I think they're trying to build it and make it better; that's their ultimate goal. So it's difficult to see the paths that they're taking and how it's all working out and if it's the right way or wrong way, I don't know. That's one thing that, over this last couple weeks, I think our team has just tried to stay out of it and just do our thing. We'll find out soon enough I guess on what happens next."
WHEN DO YOU START TO THINK ABOUT 2010? NOW? DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO ONE THING OR ANOTHER? "I think that it's something that I'll think about in the off-season. It crosses my mind, it has too. You think about what other teams are doing and where we're at and we're actually running really well. It crosses my mind, but I still like the people that I work with. I was at the shop on Tuesday for four or five hours just walking around talking to the guys building the chassis', the guys building the bodies and putting the cars together. I like those guys. I've known them for six years now and we're friends. It's nice to have that and I like where I'm at on that side of things. We'll see how this whole championship chase thing goes and then we'll figure it out from there. It's definitely something that I'll have to do a lot of thinking about and kind of figure out what I want to do with my career after 2010."
-credit: dodge motorsports