Michigan II: Pole winner interview

Kasey Kahne captured his second career pole at Michigan International Speedway and his 18th career pole Friday afternoon and will lead the field for the CARFAX 400 on Sunday. Kahne talked with members of the media following his pole sitting ...

Kasey Kahne captured his second career pole at Michigan International Speedway and his 18th career pole Friday afternoon and will lead the field for the CARFAX 400 on Sunday. Kahne talked with members of the media following his pole sitting performance.

TELL US ABOUT THE LAP.

"It was a good lap. One and two were really strong. Coming to the green I felt like I was a little bit free. It was the same through one and two and I carried a lot of speed down the back stretch. When I got to turn three I couldn't get it to turn enough and I kind of just floored it and used a lot of the race track. I definitely didn't have as good of a three and four as I would have liked and at that point I felt like I had probably given the pole away. We were able to hang on from the speed we had in one and two."

WITH THE NEWS THIS WEEK THAT YOUR PLANS ARE SETTLED, HOW BIG OF A BOOST IS THIS FOR YOU AND DOES HAVING YOUR PLANS FIGURED OUT HELP YOU WITH YOUR CURRENT TEAM?

"I think it is nice to have that done with and know for myself where I am going. I can focus on the end of the year with the Bud team and Richard Petty Motorsports. I don't know how much that has been on my mind. I feel like I am focused pretty hard each week and trying to do the right things. It is something that I definitely think about a lot. As far as the team goes, they showed up this week just like they have done each week. They are solid every week and it is nice to work with them each weekend."

CAN YOU TALK ABOUT HOW YOUR CAR CAN BE ON SUNDAY? IS IT A TOP FIVE CAR? "Yeah, we ran top two here in the spring. We didn't have anything for Hamlin in the first race, but we were easily the second best car. Kurt (Busch) was at times, but when it counted the last two stops or so, we were the best car. I feel like we have a lot of things that we are working on off of that. I felt really good in practice today. We put it in qualifying trim and weren't quite as strong as I wanted to be. We ended up 22nd and were just a little too tight. Kenny Francis fixed that for qualifying and we had a great lap. That first pit stall is a big deal here. That should get us off pit road each stop throughout the race. If you can move around here and find grip in different spots on the track, which is the neat thing about Michigan, I think you can be fast and have a great shot at winning on Sunday or at least running top-five throughout the race."

THERE WERE A LOT OF GUYS THAT HELD THAT TOP SPOT AT TIMES TODAY, HOW MUCH DO YOU ATTRIBUTE THAT TO THE SUN PEAKING IN AND OUT OF THE CLOUDS?

"I think we had a good draw. Going out late was good. The clouds come out and it changes the track and it changes it quick. I had a cloud at the end there in one and two, not in three and four, but in one and two I did. A lot of cars had that and some of them didn't. I think clouds are a big part of it. That is just the way qualifying laid out today, made for a lot of cars up there, which is good."

HAVE YOU NOTICED ANY DIFFERENCE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR CURRENT TEAM SINCE ANNOUNCING YOUR DECISION TO LEAVE AT THE END OF THE YEAR?

"I feel like we have a really strong team. Kenny Francis does a great job with them. Keith, our engineer, does an awesome job. The communication between the three of us is really good and will stay good throughout the rest of the year. As long as we keep getting what we need there and what everybody else is getting, we shouldn't have any problems. The guys want to work hard and do a good job through the rest of the season building the cars and once we get to the race track. Hopefully that doesn't change. I don't see why it would. I have seen it change in the past with certain people and certain teams, but I don't see why it would with ours."

IS YOUR SETUP PRETTY CLOSE TO WHAT YOU HAD WHEN YOU RAN SECOND HERE IN JUNE?

"It is a good bit different. What happens is that things change throughout the year. The tracks change and the cars change and evolve. Some guys get speed that didn't have it, so you are always working on stuff. We came a little different this time. Hopefully we will be able to be competitive on Sunday and race up front the whole race."

HAVE YOU GUYS FIGURED OUT IN TERMS OF MERCHANDISING WHAT HAPPENS NEXT YEAR? ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE RED BULL GEAR ON SALE?

"I sure hope so. I have been at Knoxville Nationals all week, so I haven't been in the middle of all that. I know that whatever car I end up in will have some shirts and hats for sale I would imagine. I don't know how all that works, but we will definitely have some things out there."

WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR NEXT YEAR BEFORE YOU DO GO OVER TO HENDRICK? WHAT STATEMENT ARE YOU LOOKING TO MAKE IN 2011?

"I want to win races and run competitively and make The Chase. There are things I think you can do there. Red Bull has shown they can do it in the past and I feel like we will be able to do it next year. I want to enjoy myself, look forward to coming to the racetrack and be competitive. There are a lot of things that come along with racing for those guys that will make it fun and enjoyable and I am looking forward to it all."

-source: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Sprint Cup
Drivers Richard Petty , Kasey Kahne
Teams Richard Petty Motorsports